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Area hospital, in rare $315M project, relocates trauma center

Expansion adds nearly 270 beds.

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  • | 6:50 p.m. January 17, 2022
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FORT MYERS — As part of a major expansion, Lee Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care organizations in Florida, has relocated its Regional Trauma Center from Lee Memorial Hospital to Gulf Coast Medical Center.

Courtesy. The expansion project at Lee Health added 268 new inpatient beds to Gulf Coast Medical Center.
Courtesy. The expansion project at Lee Health added 268 new inpatient beds to Gulf Coast Medical Center.

The move, which took place Jan. 12, was the first time in Florida a health system moved a trauma program, according to a statement.

To prepare for the trauma center relocation, Gulf Coast Medical Center underwent an extensive $315 million expansion project, the release states. The expansion added 268 new inpatient beds — bringing the hospital’s total bed count to 624 from 356. The project also includes an expanded emergency department and intensive care unit spaces.

“We are committed to caring for our community, and by relocating our Regional Trauma Center to Gulf Coast Medical Center, we are ensuring that we have adequate treatment space to serve the trauma service needs of our growing population,” Lee Health President and CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci says in the release. “Along with the additional space, Gulf Coast also offers a more centralized location to provide these services.”

The trauma center serves only the most complex and life-threatening cases. More than 90% of those cases are comprised of blunt trauma from falls, motor vehicle crashes and motorcycle crashes. The emergency department at Lee Memorial Hospital will remain open and will continue to serve the community 24 hours a day.

The move comes a few months after Lee Health moved forward with a new hospital campus in Fort Myers. It’s on a 52-acre site along Challenger Boulevard, between Colonial Boulevard and Winkler Avenue. The project, tentatively known as the Lee Health Colonial Campus, is planned to include an acute care hospital with 216 beds; 16 operating rooms; an emergency department with 30 emergency room bays; and a 16-bed observation unit.



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