The Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center currently has 238 beds available for patients in Norfolk, Virginia (VA). By 2014, that number will drop to 124 beds.  

This drop in capacity initially looks like a negative, but it could lead to a positive result considering new equipment and upgraded nursing units will be included in the new hospital. In addition, there is a new hospital featuring 154 beds that will open in Virginia Beach in 2011. This will be that is a joint venture between Bon Secours and Sentara Healthcare.

In order for both hospitals to stand out from the bunch and indicate a real commitment to safety, hospital officials and administrators could focus on reducing the number of preventable medical mistakes and hospital-acquired illnesses during these expansion projects. Currently, an estimated 100,000 people die every year due to these preventable medical errors and infections. Furthermore, many expert believe this number vastly understates the problem since many states do not have a mandatory reporting system for medical mistakes, including Virginia (VA).

Building new hospitals can, and should, lead to new and improved policies. Both medical centers have an opportunity to set themselves apart from other hospitals in Virginia (VA), and in the Southeastern region of the country, if they put an emphasis on fixing these preventable injuries and illnesses.