EDINBURG--Dozens of community members gathered Saturday morning to celebrated the South Texas Health System’s newest installation in rural Hidalgo County.


Located on Highway 281 off Monte Cristo rd. in Edinburg, it’s seventh emergency room in STHS providing emergency care 24 hours a day, every day of the year.


First responders had the chance to tour the facility, which is a free-standing emergency department fully equipped with the same medical personnel and diagnostic technology as any of STHS’s hospital-based ER, such as a CT scanner, digital x-ray machine and laboratory.


Conrad Brown, STHS System Director for Ambulatory Services, said it was a priority to establish an emergency facilities in the outer lengths of the county so patients in critical condition wouldn’t have to wait to receive care, lowering the possibility of fatality.


But establishing a new facility is never easy, and often takes “a lot of teamwork,” he said.


“Finding the right staff was a lot of work,” Brown said. “We can only hire experience registered nurses--no new graduates--because we aren’t attached to the hospital. You’re it when you’re out here, so you have to come with that body of experience.”


“We see everything and anything here,” he said, adding that any injury or condition that is taken in at STHS ER Monte Cristo can easily be referred to any of the STHS hospitals easily if needed.


Ricardo Roman, core laboratory supervisor at STHS ER Monte Cristo, said having a laboratory on-site is important for an emergency facility to be able to diagnose certain conditions.


“When a patient comes in bleeding and we want to know their h&h (hemoglobin and hematocrit) levels are, we can run a test. If it’s critical these nurses can react, start stabilizing the patients and send them off to another hospital,” Roman said.


The public can get their blood work done at the facility for $15.


Roy Luna, radiology coordinator with STHS ER Monte Cristo, said the 80-slice CT scanner housed at the facility can scan patients quickly, making it easier to get clear scans. Like the laboratory, the CT scanner services are available to the public.


“We’ll be providing inpatient and outpatient radiology services so if you come out of your doctor and they ordered a shoulder x-ray or a CT of the chest, you can just come straight here--you don’t need to call--you can just walk in and request a CT and we’ll do it for you,” Luna said. “Anything you do here, the whole system has access to it, so if you get a CT done here, you won’t have to get it done again at one of our sister facilities.”


The facility will be open and fully running on Tuesday, Jan 16 at 8 a.m.