MJH Uses Space-saving, Radiation-blocking Construction Materials

By: Sara Ross Email
By: Sara Ross Email

June 21, 2010

With a completion goal of August 2011, crews are working hard to make sure the new Martha Jefferson Hospital will be read on time.

The sounds of saws buzzing and heavy equipment beeping echo off the walls of what will become the new oncology radiation center. But the construction materials are not the typical concrete blocks.

"What we did here instead of standard concrete, which would require walls from 4- to 7-foot thick in different parts, is [use] ledite, and this is a high-density concrete block," chief medical physicist David Wade said.

The blocks are created with pieces of concrete and heavy metal to keep radiation from getting anywhere it shouldn't. But they also serve another purpose.

"This wall ... would be almost twice as thick if it was normal concrete," Wade said.

The 80-pound blocks will be a big space saver in the long run, and that has the staff excited about moving into their new home.

"It's going to be incredible for our patients," radiation oncologist Cynthia Spaulding said. "A more light, airy space, a more integrated space."

The staff said they hope it all stacks up to a great space for people battling cancer to heal.

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