By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center opens a new, $160 million tower.

Mike Schuh was given a tour of the new facility by chief physician, Dr. Thomas Scalea.

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If you’re being wheeled around Shock Trauma, something’s gone terribly wrong.

Modern trauma medicine was born at Shock Trauma. Now, an astonishing 96 percent of its patients survive. But such success has led to overcrowding.

Designed for 3,500, the old/new hospital was treating more than 8,000 a year.

Friday was the ribbon cutting for the new Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower.

Scalea showed WJZ a new room.

“We got the job done when we had the small rooms. It was cramped. These are beautiful,” he said.

You can have all the state-of-the-art medicine you want, but those who work at Shock Trauma say they don’t underestimate the power of a patient’s family.  Now, with all the extra room, there’s enough room to have family there.

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“And we get the families to talk to the patients about things they would normally talk to them about like the Orioles won, or the Ravens aren’t doing so well and it just helps the patients,” said Jane Aumick, RN, Neurology.

In a tent across the street, VIPs, doctors and donors cut the ribbon Friday to the new entrance of the Shock Trauma Tower.

“It just doesn’t get better than that. Not only do I get to work in this place, but I work with some of the most amazing people,” Aumick, a Shock Trauma nurse for 33 years, said.

Professionals who want the Shock Trauma idea in their communities visit and take notes.

“Yeah, we have a whole office that does nothing but coordinate visitors,” Scalea said.

The total cost of the new Shock Trauma tower is $160 million. Most of the money was raised by vehicle registration fees, private donations and the state.

“The people of Maryland expect to have a fee on their vehicular registration so they can have this. They expect to hear the helicopter if that’s appropriate. They expect to land on the roof, and that’s wonderful,” said Scalea. “This is a gift from the people of Maryland to the people of Maryland.”

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