May 22, 2012—a day of goodbyes and new beginnings, of memories and hope, of nostalgia and celebration—marked the end of patient care at University Medical Center at Princeton (UMCP) and the dawn of a new era of health care at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP).
Months of planning led to the official patient move day. Teams of employees and consultants mapped out hundreds of possible medical contingencies and the physical logistics of the move. Staff and volunteers acted as patients during two mock patient-move exercises. Final preparations included curtailing elective surgeries and lowering the patient census. Then, after countless hours of preparation, trial runs, and practices, the final day arrived, and the only option was to do it flawlessly.
As early as 7 a.m. staff and volunteers manned their carefully designated locations to ensure a smooth transition. Excitement filled the air, and conversations ranged from reminiscing about years spent at UMCP to expressions of hope for the future health of our community.
A half hour later a patient from the existing Princeton facility became UMCPP‘s first patient, and thereafter medical staff and volunteers worked together to ramp up operations at the new hospital. As the day progressed, the familiar sounds of a bustling hospital began to fill the halls of UMCPP: greeters directing patients and guiding families and visitors, clinical staff caring for patients, and monitors beeping. At 1:12 p.m., an unmistakable sound, the cry of a newborn baby, was heard on the 6th floor, as UMCPP welcomed a healthy baby girl, the first addition to our UMCPP family. At that moment, word spread throughout the hospital; there was a new life to mark the arrival of a new home for health care in central New Jersey.
As the sun set over the Millstone River that evening, many employees and volunteers involved in the move finally had time to reflect on the day. Though memories spanning 100 years of service at 253 Witherspoon Street in Princeton will live on, this was a day of promise, one that marked the beginning of an exciting chapter for health care for our area.
Pictured above: LaTanya R. Little, of Trenton, gave birth to the last baby born at UMCP. Imane Tazi and Ismael Cadjee welcomed the first baby born at UMCPP.
Article as seen in Foundation News Fall 2012.