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Famed D.C. Hospital To Be Rehabbed

February 26, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ George Washington Hospital, a deteriorating 50-year-old building where President Reagan was treated for a gunshot wound in 1981, is being replaced with a smaller and more modern $96 million facility.

The new facility, to open in 2001, will be built on a parking lot across from the existing hospital, a Washington landmark about half a mile from the White House on the urban campus of George Washington University. The six-story, 400,000-square-foot building will have 400 beds, 101 fewer than the existing hospital’s capacity.

Hospital chief executive Phillip Schaengold said Friday that renovating the existing hospital would have cost at least $150 million over 10 years and caused massive disruptions to patient care. The proposed hospital’s emergency room and operating rooms will be larger than now, and all patient suites will be private rooms. It will have a floor devoted to women’s’ health care.

``The new hospital will serve as a centerpiece in a vibrant medical center rededicated to its mission of excellence and innovation in health delivery, research, education and training,″ university president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said.

George Washington Hospital was made famous after President Reagan was brought there for wounds suffered outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in 1981. The gunman, John W. Hinckley, was judged insane and acquitted but remains an inmate in a Washington psychiatric hospital.

A for-profit chain, Universal Health Services, Inc., of King of Prussia, Pa., purchased the aging hospital last year from George Washington University.

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