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ELMC Addition Operates With New Routine - Denver Post

May 27, 2010
Denver Post - Business Section Exempla Lutheran Medical Center addition operates with a new routine By Karen Groves YourHub.com Posted: 05/24/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT Hospital employees John Slavin and Kendra Bolan learn about cart sterilization at the new surgical center during an open house last week at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge. The center is scheduled to open June 7. ( Kristin Morin, YourHub ) A new 12-room operating suite, an 18-bed recovery room and a 24-bed pre-surgery area are scheduled to open June 7 at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge. The five-story North Pavilion addition is part of a five-year building project that will add 295,000 square feet to the campus. According to Kim Kobel, media relations specialist, the $225 million project created more than 400 construction-related jobs. "The new operating rooms will average 25 to 40 cases a day," Kobel said. Much of the design was staff-driven, according to chief nursing officer Ann Evans. "We started five years ago and worked with the architects. The staff has been involved in every decision. We also asked patients what was important to them as they go into surgery," Evans said. A common request for more privacy will be satisfied with all-private patient rooms. Evans said the old operating rooms were too small for all the equipment that has been added to modern procedures. The new rooms, except for the cardiac surgery operating room, have an identical layout. "Research showed that fewer mistakes occur when the surgical environment is the same. All the equipment and supplies in every room are in the same place," she said. Dr. Philip Lightstone, medical director for anesthesia services, said the old operating rooms date back 40 years. "These rooms are much bigger and very adaptable," he said. "You can do any procedure in any room." Another improvement is the function that serves minimally invasive surgical options for complex procedures. With the use of a new "da Vinci" robot, surgeons will be able to operate while viewing a magnified 3-D image of the body's interior. It translates the surgeon's hand movements via master controls and will be used for gynecological and urinary tract surgeries. "The first patient I ever took care of who had a gall bladder removed might be in the hospital three or four days. Now, with the use of the robot, patients can go home the next day or even the day of surgery," Evans said. The surgery and recovery units are on the hospital's ground floor. Evans said levels two and three, which will be for labor, delivery, postpartum and neonatal care, will open in late 2010. Levels four and five will accommodate future growth. Karen Groves: 303-954-2303 or grovesk@yourhub.com