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HARLINGEN, RGV – Harlingen Medical Center is expanding. The medical center will get a new emergency room, more cardiac catheterization laboratories for heart related procedures, and new endoscopy laboratories for patients suffering from gastro-intestinal problems.

The expansion will give the hospital room more beds in the “Day Patient” area, which is a section where those who do not have to stay overnight are located. Such growth will increase the amount of patients that can be treated for minor injuries instead of making them wait. The project will be 22-months long and will result in an addition of 14,800 square feet.

Harlingen Medical Center is an award-winning and nationally recognized hospital and has been ranked among the top hospitals for the Thomson Reuters “100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks Award.” The medical center has also been nationally recognized for its staff, the cardiologists being praised for their work in heart treatment and for working with the most advanced technology in the field.

“We are looking forward to this expansion, so that we can treat more heart and vascular patients in the Rio Grande Valley,” Linda Bull, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Harlingen Medical Center said. “We have some of the most experienced cardiologists in the Valley. We also have physicians who perform very specialized electrophysiology studies of the heart and they have received recognition for using some of the most advanced technology.”

A ceremony was held recently for the ground-breaking and start of the expansion of their recognized Cardiovascular and Endoscopy Center. The local community was invited. The event was held at the Harlingen Medical Center at 5501 S. Expressway 77, in Harlingen. Key speakers at the ceremony included State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell, and Brenda Ivory, president and chief executive officer at Harlingen Medical Center.

“This event celebrates the beginning of a multiphase expansion and renovation which will add approximately 14,800 new square feet to Harlingen Medical Center and renovate an additional 12,000 square feet. The expansion and renovation will include an emergency department, the cardio lab, radiology, endoscopy, surgery, and day patient services. The completion of this 22-month multiphase project will allow Harlingen Medical Center to meet the current and growing healthcare needs of our community along with continuing to deliver state-of-the-art, high quality patient care and center services that our community has grown to expect and deserve from Harlingen Medical Center,” Ivory said.

One of the updated areas of the hospital will be the E.R. and after such completion, it will have a total of 12 dozen enclosed treatment areas, or “bays.” There will be two trauma bays, an isolation room, and two “fast-track” bays used for the rapid treatment of patients. Apart from the new laboratories, a larger operating room will be created for critical and large surgeries. The “cystoscopy room” (used for patients suffering from bladder problems or are in need of a urinary tract surgery) will be re-located to within the operating room suites. And the Radiology and Imagining Department will receive an “Imaging Suite” where CT-Scans, X-rays, and ultrasounds are performed in depth. The Radiology and Imagining upgrade will in turn provide the endoscopy center state-of-the-art equipment that will be used for life-saving screenings.

“Harlingen Medical Center is known for its rapid, efficient delivery of medical care,” Dr. Michael Mohun, medical director and trauma director of the emergency room and at Harlingen Medical Center, said. “This expansion will allow patients to continue to receive emergency treatment when they need it, from the most experienced board-certified emergency physicians available in Cameron County,”

Bull, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, pointed out that Harlingen, along with the rest of the Rio Grande Valley, has high rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. For this reason, she said, Harlingen Medical Center has expanded its Cardiovascular Center, to aid a community that suffers from heart problems. She said that with the expansion of the E.R. and the operating room, more patients will be treated, thanks to an increase in the number of beds and an upgrade of equipment. “We are looking forward to this expansion, so that we can treat more heart and vascular patients in the Rio Grande Valley,” Bull said.

Due to the expansion, the medical center will be in need of new personnel and nurses after it is completed, Ivory, president and CEO at Harlingen Medical Center, explained. She said Harlingen Medical Center is not only excited for the growth in square feet but also the number of new jobs it will provide to the community, including construction jobs.

“This will be a major expansion which will allow us to better meet the needs of our growing community, and to serve more people with the quality, compassionate and personalized type of care that our patients have come to expect from Harlingen Medical Center,” Ivory added.