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Exempla Lutheran Unveils Surgical Robot in Wheat Ridge at New Wing

May 13, 2010
Exempla Lutheran unveils surgical robot in Wheat Ridge at new wing by: Karen Groves Article Contributed on: 5/12/2010 9:24:24 AM A steady stream of nurses, volunteers and physicians toured the North Pavilion operating rooms at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center last week to take a peek at the new high-tech surgical center at 8300 W. 38th Ave. in Wheat Ridge. The 12-room operating suites, 18-bed recovery rooms and 24-bed pre-surgery areas are on the main level of the five-story addition. All areas will undergo a sterilization process before the inaugural surgery scheduled for June 7. The 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 and, at the time, were sufficient. "These rooms are much bigger and very adaptable. You can do any procedure in any room," Lightstone said. 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 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. Lightstone agreed the surgical center would offer better results overall. "Patients will be taken care of in a much more efficient process." Evans said levels two and three, which will be for labor, delivery, postpartum and neo-natal care, will open in late 2010. Levels four and five will accommodate future growth. A ribbon-cutting dedication and open house is planned June 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.exempla.org or call 303-425-4500. Karen Groves: 303-954-2303 or grovesk@yourhub.com