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1/22/09: Clough Surgical Center offers technological sophistication

New operating rooms look to the future
The impressive upgrade of Emerson Hospital’s entire surgical facilities—a multi-year project that has received substantial philanthropic support—is now complete. Three large operating room suites and an OR/procedure room are now open. The completely remodeled Surgical Day Care (SDC) suite and the new post-anesthesia care unit are already in use.

According to Robert Cantu, MD, chairman of the department of surgery, the new ORs have all the bells and whistles. Today, that essentially means state-of-the-art imaging technology. “Whether you are in a community hospital or an academic medical center, surgery increasingly means outpatient surgery—and specifically minimally invasive surgery,” said Dr. Cantu. “This requires sophisticated imaging technology, which our new ORs have.” In addition to two 25-inch, ceiling-hung monitors, each room also has a 60-inch, wall-mounted monitor.

The rooms also feature the most current anesthesia equipment, including the latest anesthesia delivery and physiological monitoring systems. “Physiological monitoring has improved enormously in the last decade,” said James Street, MD, PhD, chair of the anesthesiology department. “With ‘awareness’ monitors, we can quantify the level of consciousness, which provides assurance that the patient is asleep during surgery.”

The larger-sized rooms—two at 650 square feet and one at 725 square feet—will be appreciated, according to Dr. Street. “As our need to incorporate new technology requires increased space, we’re looking forward to having more room in which to work,” he said. The fourth room, which features a C-arm, is intended for minor surgical excisions, plastic surgery cases, and interventional pain procedures.

New surgeons join the Emerson medical staff
Colette Whitby, MD, a general surgeon based in Groton, joined the staff in the fall, and another surgeon is scheduled to join Emerson this spring. In the meantime, certain specialty areas, including orthopedic surgery, have experienced a significant increase in cases as more sports medicine specialists join Emerson.
SDC, the section of the Clough Surgical Center that opened earlier this year, achieved a high standard for privacy and comfort. “From the patients’ point of view, the SDC suite represents a quantum leap in their overall experience,” said Dr. Street. “Thanks to the thoughtful design, everyone has privacy before and after their surgery. Some patients have serene wooded views; the architectural design makes the most of Emerson’s natural setting.”

No longer do patients coming for day surgery need to walk through the hospital’s main lobby and then search for the surgical suite. “Patients can be dropped off at a dedicated entrance and take an elevator to the surgical suite,” said Dr. Cantu. “Once there, they have a roomy area for check-in, and their family members have a comfortable space in which to wait, with wireless Internet access and their own kitchenette.”
Now Emerson’s surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses will get to experience what they’ve been waiting for. “The surgeons are thrilled to get into the new ORs,” said Dr. Cantu. “In terms of surgery, we’re set for the next era.”

Upgrade of ORs part of Emerson’s larger construction project
The upgrade of Emerson’s surgical services was part of a $36-million project to enhance the patient experience in three key areas: surgery center, obstetrics, and radiology. The project combines new construction with a series of innovative renovations and upgrades.

The new postpartum unit combines more than 14,000 square feet of new construction and renovation on and adjacent to the West Wing’s third floor. The private rooms were designed with attention to feng shui principles, like color, sunlight, and mood, to create a soothing environment ideal for a family to spend time after the birth of a baby.
The state-of-the-art, versatile interventional radiology (IR) suite features upgraded technology. For complex multispecialty procedures, Emerson’s new IR suite is a sterile operating room that is appropriately sized to allow for anesthesia and other equipment, such as ultrasound. Along with superior image resolution, the new equipment also exposes patients to less radiation. The suite’s centerpiece is the newest model fluoroscopy unit, which sweeps around the patient to provide sophisticated, real-time X-rays that guide the procedure. The new suite is designed with six pre-procedure/recovery bays with individual TVs and room for family members, as well as a separate consultation room where patients and family members can meet with the clinical team.