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RiverBend belongs to all of us.

Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Mel Pyne For The Register-Guard

These remarks are from the July 18 public grand opening of Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. The event was ceremonial; the opening for patients is set for Aug. 10.

Today we are standing on sacred ground, not at the end of a journey, but the beginning. To be sure, we have come a long way from that beautiful September morning seven years ago when those gathered here confirmed this site for the new Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

And what we have accomplished together is evident in this magnificent building and the potential it represents. It is a lasting tribute to the best we have to offer from the fields of architecture, technology, construction, hospitality and - especially - health care.

It is more than natural beauty that makes this place sacred:

Sacred is the life that will soon fill this building behind me.

Sacred are the caregivers who give care and comfort to the afflicted here.

Sacred is the healing that people will receive here.

Sacred is the new life that will enter the world here.

Sacred are the souls who leave Earth from here to find life eternal.

Sacred is the miracle of medicine and prayer and love and compassion that may touch all who enter here.

When I first came to Sacred Heart three years ago, drawn by the vision of what RiverBend could be, this hospital was literally a hole in the ground. I stood on the edge overlooking the footprint and dreamed of this day. For me, from the very beginning, RiverBend was always more than a building. It was a catalyst for transforming health care here at home and beyond, and I believe it will stand as a hallmark for the best that medicine can be.

When we cross the threshold to the new hospital, we are truly beginning a new era of health care unlike any we have experienced. This building is the platform that allows us to provide care at a higher level than had been possible before.

The transformation will be most apparent for patients, who are at the center of what we do and who were instrumental in the hospital's design. At RiverBend, and soon at Sacred Heart Medical Center at University District, patients will have greater privacy, access to leading-edge technology, enhanced health care processes and the healing properties of art, music and nature.

Above all, they will continue to be cared for by outstanding physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians and other caregivers who, fortunately for us, have chosen this place to offer their expert skills.

I wish to recognize the many Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace who have come from far and near for this grand opening. I am humbled knowing I am standing on the shoulders, and the heritage, of those who have come before - the sisters who made their way west more than a century ago on a spiritual mission to promote personal and community health, to relieve pain and suffering, and to treat each person in a loving and caring way. We are blessed and privileged to be carrying the torch - represented by this ministry - at this moment in time.

Many dedicated men and women - too many to thank individually - have devoted the past several years of their lives to this project, this mission, this passion. We think you will be inspired by what we have accomplished together. They know who they are; what they cannot possibly know is how grateful we are and how much we appreciate their work. It cannot be expressed, and it is unending. To the boards of directors, employees, medical staff, volunteers, sisters, donors, government officials, contractors, advisers and above all, our patients - a special, heartfelt thank you.

No matter who you are, you have played a role in making this hospital a reality, because the hospital belongs to the whole community. Virtually everyone crosses the doors of a hospital at some point in their lives. We hope all will find this to be a special and sacred place that heals our bodies and soothes our souls.

On behalf of all of us at PeaceHealth, welcome to your new hospital: Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

Mel Pyne is chief executive officer and chief mission officer of Sacred Heart Medical Center. The hospital, at 3333 RiverBend Drive in Springfield, will be open to the public for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
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Title Annotation:Local Opinion
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 20, 2008
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