The several hundred on hand read like a `who's who' in the Greater New Milford area.

The occasion Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 was the ceremonial groundbreaking for a state-of-the-art Arnhold Emergency Department at New Milford Hospital.

Prominent among the guest list including hospital officials and staff, town officials, project donors and other VIPs were three members of the Arnhold family, for whom the ER will be named.

"We are not in this alone," John Arnhold told a gathering of likely more than 200. "There are many donors. But on behalf of my family -- my father Henry, born in 1921, the year this hospital was founded; my wife, Jody; our children; and my late mother and sister -- we are pleased to support this important project."

More than half of the $8 million needed for the project came from the Arnhold family and other gifts. Much of the remainder is also expected to come from private donations.

The 11,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. It will be double the size of the present emergency department and is expected to serve more than 20,000 patients a year.

Deborah Weymouth, executive director of New Milford Hospital and senior vice president of the Western Connecticut Health Network, reaffirmed words spoken at the hospital's expansion in 1971.

She said New Milford Hospital remains "a place where pain is eased and life is saved."

"Together, the hospital staff and our physicians provide the care needed by the community," Weymouth said, "and the community will require into the future."

Dr. John M. Murphy, WCHN's president and CEO, spoke of the uncertainty and challenges facing health care providers today, from reductions in government reimbursements to changes in the health care law.

"One thing that is certain is our commitment to this community," Murphy said. "We will continue to provide the services needed to diagnose, provide the care you need to address the results of that diagnosis, and provide emergency care for those times you cannot predict."

The Arnhold Emergency Department will be located on the southwestern corner of the hospital's current footprint.

It will feature a larger triage room, advanced technology including a low-dose 64-slice CT scanner, and a centralized nursing station for direct oversight of patient rooms.

It will also have a decontamination area, dedicated rooms for pediatric, behavioral health and critical care, and improved parking.

For more information, visit www.westernconnecticuthealthnetwork.

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