What’s that big tank doing outside of Magee? Learn more about it here!

If you happen to be walking or driving down Spring Street (the street directly behind Magee) you might wonder, “What’s up with that big tank with a Magee logo surrounded by a fortress?” It is housing an oxygen tank that has enabled us to be sure that every patient room will be able to provide oxygen when needed.

“You mean you couldn’t do that before?” Well, actually, no, and we never really needed to; however, with the significant changes in the patients we see, we needed to increase our ability to serve this growing group of patients.

Prior to the Bulk Oxygen Project taking place, oxygen tanks were stored safely in the Magee garage. Every few days, large, heavy tanks had to be moved around to keep the operation going. It worked for a long time, but the new set-up is much more efficient. This efficiency also means cost-saving.

Team Magee had talked about this project for almost a decade, and over the last year, we were able to complete all of the steps necessary to install the new tank. These steps included a lot of behind-the-scenes work that you might not think of, including:

  • research of utility lines underground that resulted in some being moved;
  • approval from the City Planning Commission and City Council, which required multiple meetings, plans, and discussions;
  • work with the company that provides the oxygen delivery to determine the best size and exact location of the tank; and
  • closing off Spring Street for the tank to be lifted in to its new home.

So what does this all mean for Magee? Well, since I am not on the clinical team here, I asked that same question as I was getting involved in the behind-the- scenes work, and it was pretty eye-opening. Patients arrive at Magee sooner than ever before from acute care hospitals, and (in easy to understand terms) in a much more fragile medical state. Many of our patients arrive with open airways and rely on oxygen for assistance to breathe. Some need more than others. What really helped me understand just how important this project was needed was back in February when 1/3 of the patients we had at the time fell into this category. Even though we had lots of open beds for patients, we couldn’t accept anyone else requiring oxygen, as we had reached the maximum level of oxygen our system had available.

So what did that mean for those in need of Magee’s top notch services? Unfortunately, they couldn’t come here right away, delaying their start on the road to recovery, until we had space available for them. I remember looking around the room when I described this scenario to the members of the Planning Commission, who had to cast a critical vote to help us and made the smart choice to green-light the project. City Council quickly did the same thing, and we are grateful to all who supported this effort.

There’s a lot happening at Magee in terms of construction and projects, and while this one wasn’t as glamorous as some, it is critically important for those who need us most.

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