Photo courtesy of Parkland Memorial Hospital
Nedra Washington, 28, was the first patient transferred across the Mike A. Myers Sky Bridge from the old Parkland Memorial Hospital to the new facility across the street.

Many months of preparation and planning, along with the help of dedicated staff, resulted in the safe transfer of 626 patients to the new Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, last week — a full day ahead of schedule.

Fred Cerise, M.D., president and CEO, was one of many hospital leaders who gave high praise to the staff for safely and efficiently moving the patients from the old Parkland Hospital while still taking care of patients as they were admitted to the new hospital.   

As the move took place, patients were coming in on foot, by ambulance, by helicopter and being taken care of as if it were a normal workday at Parkland, Cerise says. "That couldn't happen without a workforce that is extremely dedicated to the health and well-being of our community," he says.

"It is our staff who made the early completion of this move possible, and I am proud to be able to say I work with them," he says. Some 400 volunteers also helped with the move.

Alexander Eastman, M.D., medical director and chief of the Rees-Jones Trauma Center at Parkland and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, says hospital leaders calculated the impact of the move based on data such as patient volumes, discharge rates and other information. Response by the staff was critical.

Photo courtesy of Parkland Memorial Hospital
Workers remove plastic from directional signage at the new Parkland emergency room as it opens.

"What we couldn't have anticipated was our single most important factor in our success: the outstanding dedication displayed by our Parkland staff and providers," Eastman says.

Countless hours of planning and preparation also contributed greatly to the smooth transfer, hospital officials say. 

"We have been preparing for this move for well over a year and challenged ourselves to plan for every possible scenario that could potentially arise," says Kris Gaw, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, hospital operations.

"The success of this move proves that our preparations and training for this enormous endeavor were critical to the safe patient transfer to the new hospital," Gaw says.

The opening was a day of many firsts for the new hospital. Less than 20 minutes after the 6 a.m. opening of the emergency department (ED), the first patient was brought in by ambulance. Within an hour, the first CareFlite helicopter landed with a trauma patient who was whisked to the Rees-Jones Trauma Center. The first baby was delivered a couple of hours later.

The new 2.1 million-sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility adds needed space for better delivery of health care services to a growing population, particularly in areas such as the ED, operating room, burn center and neonatal intensive care unit. The hospital includes 862 private patient rooms.

The new campus also promotes an environment of healing by incorporating natural lighting and a wellness garden. One of the many distinct design features is the image of trees on the lobby glass. When seen up close, the trees actually comprise the names of the thousands of Dallas County citizens who support Parkland.

For more information about the new Parkland Memorial Hospital, visit