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      ER gets more than a Band-Aid

      Staff and patients at the Scotland County Hospital are celebrating the opening of its new Emergency Department.

      Before, the hospital had an emergency room with two beds. Now, they have an entire unit with six patient rooms and the capacity for eight beds. Two of the rooms are trauma rooms, equipped with new surgical lights, and cardiac monitors. A

      Also, the department has its own waiting room for patients' families, and new computers so that nurses can maintain patients medical records electronically.

      The biggest addition for the patients' pleasure: flat screen TVs.

      The Director of the Emergency Department said with all of the added space and new equipment, he expects to see more patients stop by the rural hospital.

      "Overall, our census will probably increase now that we have the new facility," said Dr. Hix. "Along with the new emergency department, the hospital also is building a new surgical center and a new patient desk and a new Radiology area. So it's going to be a completely bigger and newer hospital."

      On Dec. 5, the hospital will open its new, non-emergency patient rooms, which include a private bath.

      The new surgery unit is scheduled to open by the end of December and the renovation of the rest of the hospital will be finished by the summer of 2012.

      The project was funded by $9 million in low interest loans from President Obama's Stimulus Plan and a $1 million grant from the USDA.