Those out and about in San Francisco on Sunday morning are being advised of what will likely be an unusual sight: 40 ambulances primarily driving around the east side of The City for more than six hours.
Beginning at 7 a.m., UC San Francisco will transport some 150 patients — some critical, others stable — from its Parnassus and Mount Zion facilities to the new $1.5 billion medical center in Mission Bay, said Kim Scurr, executive director of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco.
The children's hospital is one of three that will open Sunday, along with the UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women's Hospital and UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital, after more than a decade of planning and construction.
UCSF officials anticipate the transfer from Parnassus to the women's and children's hospitals will include 137 children and women, some who are pregnant or have just delivered a baby. And 12 patients will move from Mount Zion to the new cancer hospital.
“We have in preparation rescheduled most of our elective surgeries, so basically everybody we have now either can't be transferred out or discharged, or we have an emergent admission that we're the only hospital that can care for that patient,” Scurr said.
Forty ambulances will transfer the patients every four minutes, a process that is expected to take until about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to hospital officials.
One main route and two backup routes were selected for the respective moves between Parnassus and Mount Zion. Though the routes are not necessarily the shortest, they are believed to provide the least amount of stops, turns and hills.
The path from Parnassus will take patients on Interstate 280, while the Mount Zion route uses Golden Gate Avenue and Polk, 10th and 16th streets.
The most critical patients who will be transferred Sunday include premature infants in incubators and a patient on extracorporeal life support, which is a heart and lung bypass machine.
UCSF has composed a transport team for each patient. A critical patient might need a doctor, nurse and respiratory therapist, while more stable patients may just require a bedside nurse. A parent or loved one for children and pregnant women will also be allowed to ride in the ambulance, hospital officials said.
The emergency medical response in The City will not be affected by the increase in ambulances. UCSF has contracted with American Medical Response to transport patients Sunday.
Ambulance services that day are expected to cost nearly $100,000, said Brian Smith, director of transition planning for UCSF.
The Police Department will provide traffic enforcement at three main intersections between the routes from both Parnassus and Mount Zion.
Hospital officials emphasized that the public should not worry Sunday if they see more ambulances than usual traveling in The City.
“It's actually a very good thing; we're moving into our hospital,” Scurr said.