At sunup Friday, 15 ambulances will begin moving dozens of tiny babies and sick children from Women & Children's Hospital to the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The move is expected to take as long as 24 hours and impact 11 streets in the neighborhoods between the old hospital on Bryant Street and the new one 1.2 miles away on Ellicott Street. As many as 150 to 200 patients will be moved individually by ambulance every 7 to 10 minutes before the lights are turned out.
"Our goal is to ensure safety of the patients," said Jody Lomeo, Kaleida Health president and CEO. "We're not in this for the speed."
The move, which takes place after years of planning and four practice moves, marks a significant milestone as the $270 million, 12-story hospital replaces the 125-year-old pediatric hospital.
Here's what you need to know.
When will the new hospital open?
The John R. Oishei Children's Hospital will open at 7 a.m. Friday, at the same time the old hospital stops taking new patients.
The front entrance for non-emergency care is at 818 Ellicott St. The emergency services entrance is located on Goodrich Street between Main and Ellicott streets near the Conventus building.
Where do patients go for care on Friday?
Women & Children's Hospital on Bryant Street will stay open until 7 a.m. Friday.
After 7 a.m., children who need emergency care or women who are going into labor should report to the emergency department of Oishei Children's Hospital.
The hospital has no scheduled appointments or surgeries on Friday. Kaleida Health advises patients to follow normal procedures, if a medical problems arises. If you normally contact your pediatrician first, do that.
How will the move work?
Staff will open a command center at Women & Children's Hospital before dawn. A hospital-wide prayer service will be held at 6 a.m. for employees.
At 7:01 a.m., the first patient will depart in one of 15 ambulances from American Medical Response headed for Oishei. Patients will be moved one-by-one, every 7 to 10 minutes.
The most critically ill patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Hematology/Oncology will move first. After that, the remaining patients, including those from Labor & Delivery, Mother/Baby Unit, Medical/Surgical and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will move, as well as the remaining unit transfers for less critical care patients.
Women in labor will not move until after their babies are delivered.
The entire move could take upward of 24 hours, depending on the number of patients at the hospital on Friday, delays in patient prep, transport or traffic. A clinical crew including a nurse and physician will accompany each patient.
Will it impact traffic?
There are no street closings due to the move, which was deliberately planned for the Friday before Veteran's Day, when there would be 30 percent less traffic, with schools and government offices closed. Kaleida Health has asked commuters and residents not involved in the move to avoid driving in the neighborhoods around either hospital to allow for smooth flow.
There will be ambulance returns, equipment trucks and patient families navigating the area.
Restricted parking will be in place on Oakland Place, Bryant and Summer streets and Hodge Avenue,
What about ambulances for emergencies?
Ambulance service American Medical Response will have 40 ambulances deployed throughout the region on Friday.
There will be 15 dedicated to the Children's Hospital move, in addition to three that will be available as backups. Scott Karaszewski, chief EMS officer with AMR, said the move of patients will not impact other community medical and trauma needs.
In the event of an incident involving mass casualties or multiple injuries, a separate, dedicated command center would be opened in conjunction with Erie County Medical Center, said Dr. Stephen Turkovich, Children's Hospital chief medical officer. The trauma centers at Oishei Children's Hospital and ECMC would triage and handle patients.
Isn't it supposed to snow Friday?
Hospital officials do not expect the forecasted light snow on Friday to impact the move. City crews will pre-salt streets to ensure no icing difficulties.
"It's going to be a cold day, but we wouldn't want it any other way," said Lomeo, adding,"We're Buffalonians."
In case of bad weather that poses a risk to patient safety or safe transportation, the move will be rescheduled to Nov. 17.
Where do I park at the new hospital?
Those who transport themselves to Oishei Hospital can park in a new parking garage at 854 Ellicott St. Volunteers will be on site to direct families through the back entrance. There also is street and surface lot parking around the campus. Valet parking at Oishei is 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday for $7.
Once the last patient is moved, it's lights out. An ambulance will be stationed outside the old hospital's emergency department door for four weeks with a sign noting: "We've Moved."