Turlock's Emanuel Medical Center is on the verge of opening two new state-of-the-art cardiovascular operating suites, expected to save thousands of Turlockers's lives in the years to come.
Those operating rooms will remember a lost Turlocker, however, bearing the name of Justin Ferrari. Ferrari was slain by a gunman's stray bullet on May 24, 2012, in Seattle.
The surgical suites cost $7.1 million to build and equip. One of the suites offers a cutting-edge surgical table with an integrated interventional radiology scanner, found only in a few major cardiac centers.
“With community support, these services will save lives,” said fundraising chair Bill Gibbs in 2011. “When someone is brought to Emanuel with chest pain, there will be no more transferring them out of town. We will have immediate care, right here in Turlock.”
Emanuel Medical Center conducted its first open-heart surgery in 2011. The new dedicated cardiac operating suites will allow the hospital to expand its cardiovascular services and provide better care.
Ferrari was the son of long-time Turlock residents and past Turlock Citizens of the Year Jeani and John Ferrari.
Justin Ferrari was driving through a Central Seattle intersection with his parents and two young children when he was killed, shortly after after picking his parents up from the airport for a Memorial Day weekend vacation. Ferrari died in his father's arms, in front of his children age 4 and 7.
The killer, Andrew Patterson, was aiming at another person across the street who had disrespected Patterson's gang. Patterson was sentenced to more than 23 years in prison in October, 2013.
The Ferrari family donated more than $500,000 toward the construction of the two new operating rooms.
“The fundamental basis for our support of Emanuel Medical Center is that it's our community hospital,” John Ferrari said in 2010. “Jeani and I have talked about this a number of times and we cannot come up with another opportunity to touch so many people's lives. If you live in this community, one day you will need Emanuel. And I believe that once you give to Emanuel and see the important work it's doing, you'll stay involved for a very long time.”
Construction on the two new operating rooms hit a snag in February, when a crew of workers breached an oxygen line while saw-cutting through a stucco wall. The oxygen then ignited, likely due to sparks from the saw cutting, causing a fire at the construction site.
The fire led to a temporary shutdown of two operating rooms, one of which was in the midst of a procedure. Additionally, four patients in labor and delivery were relocated to other rooms, while five babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit were transferred to a Modesto hospital as a precautionary measure.
Turlock police blocked off streets near the hospital, but construction workers were able to extinguish the flames with on-site fire extinguishers. Almost all hospital services were restored within an hour.
The operating suites are set to open in February.
Check back with TurlockCityNews.com for an in-depth look at the new operating suites.