ELLIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - It's been more than a year in the making. The only hospital in Waxahachie will soon move into a new building, and that means performing the risky transport of ill patients, some of them critical, to the new facility.
To help employees prepare, the hospital did a real-time practice run on Monday.
There's only one thing the brand new hospital needs to open on Saturday -- patients. But loading and transporting every patient from one facility to another is something Baylor Scott & White officials say has never been done in North Texas at this level.
CBS 11 News was there for an exclusive look at the extraordinary steps being taken to make sure everything is done safely on the two mile trip.
It was a simulation of what Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Waxahachie hopes will and won't happen when 50 patients are transported to the new building.
Gary Bradshaw is a patient at the old Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie. If he hasn't fully recovered from pancreatitis, he will be among those uprooted on Saturday.
Bradshaw said he's still in a lot of pain. "I've got a knot right at the lower part of my sternum. [It] feels like a softball and it can be excruciating at times."
To minimize the pain and risk to patients, the hospital conducted a dress rehearsal with employees lifted from their beds and loaded onto ambulances. Everything was monitored on video screens.
When asked how common it was to move so many patients Baylor Scott & White Waxahachie President Chris York said, "It's fairly uncommon actually."
According to York, it has taken 18 months and more than 100 people to pull off the high-risk haul of some critically ill patients.
There are even more challenges with the move happening during cold weather. "It's a big complex project," York said. "We had a lot of uptick in flu and pneumonia, so we've got a lot of acute patients. Our ICU is full."
For the last patients, in the current 100-year-old hospital, it's a chance to be part of something historic.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
for more features.