Code 3 Opens Emergency Room for DFW Airport Employees, Passengers

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Employees and passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport now have immediate access to emergency room care through Code 3 Emergency Partners. The Frisco-based company officially opened a free-standing, emergency department in Southgate Plaza on Friday, June 1.

The 8,125-square foot emergency room is the first full-service emergency room to be built on an airport property in the United States. The facility features seven examination rooms, an on-site urgent care clinic, and access to ultrasounds, X-rays, and CAT scans.

“Originally, we were looking to do a free-standing, emergency department at the airport,” Dr. Carrie de Moor, CEO of Code 3 Emergency Partners, said. “We looked at a map of Dallas-Fort Worth and tried to see where we needed to go, and we saw there was the huge gap here in the middle of this big Metroplex where there was no emergency room. We came to the airport and said, ‘We think there’s an access issue here. We’d love to be able to offer access to emergency care.’”

Within hours of opening, the clinic already saw a fair number of patients for emergency care, which very quickly demonstrated how needed this emergency room is.

“Most people don’t understand how frequently these emergencies are in general,” de Moor said. “About 45 percent of Americans go into the emergency room every year, year after year. We’re seeing here is this small ‘city’ around DFW Airport that it’s the same kind of frequency.”

Dr. Brian Katan, director of the DFW Emergency Department and Urgent Care at DFW International Airport, said aside from the typical urgent care issues, several of the first patients the clinic saw were airport workers suffering from heat exhaustion from working on the tarmac in over 100 degree weather.

“Essentially, our emergency department is like many others,” Katan said. “There are very common things [we see], like people having chest pain, people having abdominal pain, people feeling weak and dizzy. Sometimes, some of these things are brought on by the stresses of heat. When you’re getting 105 degree weather out there, and then you’re on the tarmac, the temperature out there can get up to 120. When you’re working behind a jet engine, you get into even hotter numbers.”

Katan also said this new emergency room will be a great help in getting both injured workers and passengers back on their feet more quickly.

“Historically, if the airport had an injured worker, they would lose a half day or a full day just in the process of going to an emergency department, long waits, getting taken care of and then getting back,” Katan said. “Here, we’re able to get them taken care of promptly. It’s a much shorter transport time, and we’re able to get them back to work or on their flights. I think that’s a real benefit for the whole community.”

Last summer, Code 3 also opened an urgent care clinic inside DFW Airport at Terminal D. The clinic features on-site lab testing and X-rays, as well as a built-in pharmacy.

“I think it’s really important that, from the first time a physician or provider sees you, you have the same records and you have the ability to follow through,” de Moor said. “I think it’s very helpful because most of the time, we can actually get the patients home without having to admit them. Even if they need to go to the emergency room, they might just need quicker access to getting them better and making sure there’s not something going on with them that’s an emergency.”

Katan said the terminal clinic has a great synergy with the new emergency facility. Having both facilities working together will result in better care for both airport employees and passengers since the emergency room can handle what the urgent care clinic cannot.

“[The terminal clinic] serves us very well, and serves the patients very well, because they can see them at the urgent care, and for the vast majority of things, they are able to take care of it there,” Katan said. “But just yesterday, there were three different cases where it was something beyond what they could do. They were able to ship them over here for us to see in the emergency department. So we’ve got continuity of care. We were able to pull up exactly everything off of their screen and have it on our screens, so there is no re-registration delay of any kind. That helps immensely.”

The Code 3 ER is officially open for business and will have a grand opening celebration on Thursday, June 21.

Written by Ariel Graham