Christine Lee, NBC 5 Grand Prairie Reporter
For more than a decade Grand Prairie was the largest city in America without a hospital. Last January Texas General Hospital opened in Grand Prairie, now its emergency department is also open.
For more than a decade, Grand Prairie has been known as the largest city in America without a hospital. That changed in January 2012 when Texas General Hospital opened its doors. Now it's emergency department is also open, allowing fire crews to transport patients a lot closer to home.
Grand Prairie resident Isaac Robles has been in and out of the emergency room after getting bitten by a spider.
"It looks like a bullet hole, but good thing the doctors inside, they took care of it, so everything is all good," he said.
Robles added that he would not have gone to a hospital if there wasn't one near his home.
Paramedics responding to a 911 call on Monday said they no longer have to drive up to 20 miles when patients needs can be met in Grand Prairie.
"Our transport that we just brought over here, it was less than half a mile. So it definitely can decrease the mileage that's put on the ambulance and decrease the wear and tear," said firefighter and paramedic Joseph Wackett.
Since the emergency department opened in February, fire crews transported roughly 250 patients to the new facility with emergencies ranging from diabetic problems to high blood pressure to respiratory issues.
While trauma patients are still taken outside the city, Grand Prariei Fire Chief Robert Fite said more calls are being dealt with locally. He added that quicker service is a huge benefit to both the fire department and the public.
"Many patients that come here may be going to Methodist Dallas instead. That's a two-hour time frame that they're gone. Here they are local, they get right back in service and they can actually respond right from here," said Fite.
Firefighters agreed that in cases of emergencies, having a local hospital is priceless.
"I might be just a matter of minutes, but in this line of work, and whenever people are having health problems, minutes are pretty important," said Wackett.
Medical Center Arlington will also be opening a freestanding ER near Joe Pool Lake. That facility, located at Camp Wisdom Road and Lake Ridge Parkway, is under construction and is expected to open later this year.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the facility that Medical Center Arlington is building in Grand Prairie. Medical Center Arlington is building a freestanding ER at Camp Wisdom Road and Lake Ridge Parkway. NBC 5 regrets the error.