The population continues to swell in southern Ocean County.  As a result, the lynchpin for medical care is working to meet the increasing demands.  Southern Ocean Medical Center (SOMC) has poured millions into their emergency department and they are now using their new upgrades.

Southern Ocean Medical Center (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

The second phase of their emergency room expansion is now complete.  It triples the size from 9 thousand square feet to almost 30,000.  It includes 42 bays, additional radiology services and a high tech link between the facility and other hospitals under the Meridian Health System banner.

The hospital first opened in 1972 and only had 54 beds at that time.  Now, there are close to 180 beds, close to 300 doctors and 800 health care professionals.

"Southern Ocean sees an unusually high number of patients, primarily because of the influx of residents in the summer," said Joe Coyle, president of Southern Ocean Medical Center. "The occasional surge of a busy summer weekend can cause the ER to be overcrowded, which can cause less-than-desirable wait times."

The new upgrades also focus on pediatric care and behavioral health care.  There are expanded triage and fast-track areas in the expansion as well, allowing for faster response times.