Most exterior walls and some roofs are already in place at the Health City Cayman Islands in East End.
Construction work is ahead of schedule and the site is on track for its expected completion in February 2014, construction manager Ryan Smith told reporters during a tour of the site Wednesday.
The construction of the first phase, which consists of four linked buildings that make up a single complex, is being done on 14 acres of the site, which will eventually cover 200 acres, according to the developers.
“A lot has happened in the last couple of months,” said Gene Thompson, the local partner of Indian cardiologist Dr. Devi Shetty on the project. The first concrete pour was done in February and the first patients are expected to be admitted to the 140-bed first phase of the hospital in March 2014.
The vast majority of staff at the site are Caymanian, Mr. Thompson said, and prospective workers turn up at the construction area in High Rock daily to see if there is work available. “We have much, much more supply than demand,” the developer said, who added that some of the workers had criminal records but they had proved they are hard workers. “They deserve a chance and we’re going to give them a chance,” he said.
One of the project supervisors, Neil Armstrong, of Caledonia Construction, said of the 80 to 85 staff on site Wednesday, 75 per cent were Caymanian. “I have probably another 300 guys outside the gate that we cannot get work for right now, at this stage. We try to utilise them here and there with some of the subcontractors,” Mr. Armstrong said, adding that all contractors working on the project are contractually obliged to meet a quota of the number of Caymanians they employ at the site weekly.
Among the workers who have secured employment at the site is 24-year-old Shane Kenneth Rankine, who was unemployed for almost three years before starting at the Health City Cayman Islands in early December.
“Once you get a job, you got to hold on to it. It was hard going out there looking for jobs,” he said. “I kept coming here, talking, asking if I could get some work because I’d been out of a work a couple of years,” he said.
All the roofs are scheduled to be completed by 9 May to enable interior construction work in the three one-storey and one two-storey buildings to be done during the rainy season.
The hospital has been designed to industry accreditation organisation Joint Commission International’s standards, said construction manager Ryan Smith.
One difference patients will see in this hospital compared to most others in the Western world is the use of natural light. For example, the operating theatres all have windows, Mr. Smith said.
“The main reason for that is they do many times more surgeries in Dr. Shetty’s hospitals than they do in Western [hospitals], so they like the natural light …” he said.
Another departure from the norm, in terms of layout and design, is an open bay intensive care unit, rather than individual rooms for ICU patients.
Although there will be private rooms for isolation and special care cases, most ICU patients will be in the open ward. “It’s very much different in Dr. Shetty’s models versus the ICU in Western type of medicine in ICU [where] these would all be individual rooms. The benefits here is you’ve got three nurses stations and they have direct access view to all those patients, so you can lower your staff and have a better range of being able to monitor patients in an open bay ward rather than in individual rooms,” Mr. Smith said in a presentation of features of the hospital.
Between the buildings at the site will be landscaped areas made up of local flora and fauna, Mr. Smith said, showing drawings done by landscape designer Margaret Barwick.
The developers are liaising with the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Orchid Society to identify trees, plants and flowers that can be saved during the clearing and construction and relocated on the site or elsewhere.
Major savings on electrical and water consumption is anticipated in Phase 2 of the hospital, with the use of a Sea Water Air Conditioning system that will draw cool deep sea water to provide cool water to the hospital’s air conditioning system, as well as water for flushing and other grey water uses. This system can also be used to generate electricity.
“Air conditioning costs in the hospital are about 70 per cent of the total load, so we’re taking 70 per cent of our total electricity load and reducing it by 70 to 90 per cent,” Mr. Smith said.
The buildings, with their flat roofs, are also being constructed to accommodate solar panels in the future.
However, this won’t mean the hospital will be off the Caribbean Utility Company’s power grid because of regulations, which restrict the amount of electricity that can be generated for a commercial system to under 100 kilowatts, Mr. Smith said, although he and Mr. Thompson said they anticipated that legislation will be changed to allow this to occur in the future.
“If that requirement was not there today and we had SWAC installed and our solar system on the buildings, Phase 1 would be completely off the grid,” he said.
To deal with infectious medical waste, the hospital will use an on-site autoclave – a high pressure steam steriliser – and a pathological waste incinerator.
“An autoclave cleanses any infectious waste … that comes from the patient or whatnot. It goes through a steam cleaning process in the autoclave and it becomes free of all those pathogens. You can actually take waste out of an autoclave and put it in a landfill and there’d be absolutely no contaminants,” Mr. Smith said.
“We’re going to take that pathological waster, that human waste, and put it into a small incinerator, and once it goes into the autoclave system and it’s in the pathological waste incinerator, there are no dioxins, no pathogens, that go into the environment whatsoever. It’s a total clean medical waste management system,” he said.
The hospital will have its own on-site oxygen generation system so it will not have to fly or ship in tanks of liquid oxygen from overseas.
Mr. Smith said Health City can also provide oxygen to the Health Services Authority if the need arises.