CASTRO VALLEY -- In a move that has been scripted down to the minute, Eden Medical Center doctors and staff members will transfer 60 to 65 patients from the old hospital to the new one on Saturday.
The carefully choreographed move comes after 28 "move school" classes and a dress rehearsal Wednesday, when volunteers filled in for patients, said Carolyn Kemp, Sutter Health spokeswoman.
On Saturday, the actual patients will be transported one at a time by wheelchair, gurney or bed. "It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to move each patient," Kemp said. "It's not like you open the door and roll out 30 gurneys."
Eden Medical postponed elective surgeries to reduce the number of patients that will need to be transferred.
"A team of three will move with the patient down the elevator, through the emergency room of the old hospital and then 150 feet from the old building into the lobby of the new hospital," Kemp said. From there, the patients will be taken to their new rooms. A command center will be set up to monitor the moves.
Rain is in the forecast for Saturday, but that possibility was included in the plans -- the walkway will be tented to protect patients from the weather.
The hospital is the first new one in southern Alameda County in decades -- most were built in the 1950s and '60s. Sutter Health, which purchased Eden Medical Center from the Eden Township Healthcare District in 1998, is footing the bill for the new $320 million hospital built by DPR Construction.
The hospital on Lake Chabot Road was rebuilt in response to California's seismic safety law, which requires all state hospitals to meet new building standards by Jan. 1.
All of the 130 patient rooms in the new hospital are private and have a sleeper-sofa or recliner so that a family member can stay with the patient.
As soon as patients are out of the old hospital, equipment will be readied to be shipped to other Sutter Medical hospitals and other area hospitals and clinics. After any hazardous material is removed, the building will be deconstructed starting in early 2013. More than 90 percent of the materials will be recycled.
"People have asked, but we can't blow up the old building," Kemp said. "It's too close to the new hospital."
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.