POSTED: Monday, October 1, 2012 - 9:01pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 9:06am
PLAQUEMINE, LA (NBC33) - — People in Iberville Parish currently have a long drive to get medical care. But it will not be long before they get a much closer option.
Plans have been released by the parish and Ochsner for a new hospital to be built at LA 1 and Senator Gay Blvd.
"My mom's gonna be happy, whole family will be happy," said Jesse Tate. "The whole city of Plaquemine will be happy."
Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso expects crews will break ground on the new hospital in February, and open it sometime in the early part of 2014.
It will be the first hospital in Plaquemine since River West closed following Hurricane Gustav four years ago. Residents say having Ochsner in charge of the hospital's operations will make the new facility an ever better part of the community.
"It's a step up from what we did have," said Thomas Becker. "The hospital we did have, they weren't up to par as far as customer service."
Ochsner says it expects 12,000 patients in the emergency room each year. The hospital will also have 22 exam rooms, two special trauma rooms, and a full clinic to cover a wide variety of health care needs.
Right now, all of those people have to drive to Baton Rouge to get help. And cutting down their wait time is the biggest reason people have been waiting for the new facility.
"One of the utmost important things possible," said Anastasia Reed, "cause when you're in a situation where you panic, and your child is really sick, and you're thinking about a 25 minute drive to Baton Rouge, having somewhere convenient to go to is always going to be a plus."
"I have two infants at home," Becker said, "and sometimes, with infants, you don't know if it's going to be life or death, so you need to get them there in a timely manner."
Iberville Parish will use $22 million in recovery money from Hurricane Gustav to build the hospital. It will also use a $3 million appropriation from the state to purchase equipment.