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Tulare hospital will open today, nearly a year after closing


A nurse pristine blue scrubs calmly spoke with a patient brought to Tulare hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in a gurney from the emergency room.

The nurse explained the ongoing medical procedures The patient spoke in short sentences. They appeared to be incoherent.

Suddenly, the patient lost consciousness and a “code blue” was blared over a loudspeaker. 

The activity in the ICU room hastened. Hospital personnel began administering medication.

The patient didn’t respond. But after a few minutes, as the medication kicked in, the patient improved. The tension in the room dropped.

 It was all a drill.

Every day over the last week, hospital staff went through the scenarios, practicing procedures and policies. Late last week, the personnel completed five scenarios in a single day, each increasing in difficulty.

“We are testing everything we can think of,” said Charlene Dawson, the hospital’s ICU director.

The Tulare hospital will open today. About 260 employees are returning after a year hiatus.

Opening ceremonies start at 9 a.m.

Chief Nursing Officer Laurie Taggart

Chief Nursing Officer Laurie Taggart (Photo: Ron Holman)


“We follow the process,” Dawson said.

Much like a football team practices before a big game, medical personnel completed the scenarios to know how to respond to situations presented when patients show up at the hospital.

“We will not stop until we get all process and systems in place,” said Laurie Taggart, Adventist Health’s Central California Network chief nursing officer.

Supervisors look for ways to improve the staff’s response, Taggart said.

“We are here to teach and make this successful,” she said.

Taggart said the Tulare hospital will be a place where patients can feel confident good health will be provided.

“It’s all about the patient,” she said. “They can expect the best practice. They can expect a positive, safe experience.”

Adventist Health manages hospitals in Hanford, Reedley, Selma and across the country. It is also opening a hospital in Tehachapi soon.

With the Tulare hospital’s opening, first responders will see an operational improvement. In addition, Kaweah Delta will get relief just as the flu season approaches.

Since the Tulare hospital closed, Kaweah Delta has registered an increase in patients, leading to long waits and the need for tents pitched in the parking lot to handle the influx.

Tulare employees

Employees at Tulare Regional Medical Center


Taggart said the hospital’s opening will be a great addition to Tulare.

“It will mean a lot to the community. We believe the board chose the right partner,” she said. “We will not disappoint.”

Gary Herbst, Kaweah Delta Health Care District CEO, said he stood behind Tulare hospital board’s decision.

“I don’t think they could have picked a better partner,” he said. “I appreciate and respect Adventist Health.”

Source: Luis Hernandez, Visalia Times-Delta | October 15, 2018