Months of planning make Wishard move easy

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The historic move between Wishard Hospital and the new Eskenazi Health didn't happen without months of planning and complex coordination.  Eyewitness News reporter Carrie Cline spent Saturday morning watching it all unfold and takes you inside the move.

Before the sun even came up, the cast of characters started to arrive.

It was going to take literally an army, that included the Indiana Army National Guard, to move the more than 200 patients from Wishard Hospital to Eskenazi Health Center.

"We've put hours and hours, actually hundreds of hours of planning together with our Indianapolis EMS along with all of our staff and we have a warm, comfortable ride for everybody," said LeeAnn Blue, Chief Nursing Officer.

And just like that at the stroke of 7am,  one hospital closed and another opened. The first patient transfers were almost ceremonial.

Like a well choreographed play, the ambulances carrying the patients made the two-block trek from the old to the new.

Even a city bus transported some of the less serious patients.

"There will be a team of four people to safely load them. Then, we will take them to the entrances to the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital where they will be tucked into their nice, warm bed," said Blue.

"Hey team, we're about 12 minutes away from another update," said Parveen Chand.

Behind the scenes, at the heart of the operation, Command Central where Chand is the commander.

"It's been months. We've worked with IEMS and Mesh for over 3 1/2 months to plan different scenarios, weather, traffic," said Chand.

With a third of the patients moved in less than four hours, the process is moving much faster than expected. The average transport time per patient six minutes.

"Every report we've gotten back in the last 3/12 to 4 hours. There's a lot of excitement. We feel very fortunate to be able to do this for the citizens of Marion County," said Chand.

But, mixed in with all of the excitement,  there is some sadness as employees bid farewell to a facility that's served the community for more than 150 years.

"I'm sad to leave Wishard-it means a lot to me and a lot to a lot of the employees. But, I'm very happy for our patients that are moving to a state-of-the-art facility," said Penny Handshaw, Director of Rehab and Transportation Services.

One many are looking forward to the for the next 150 years.