In a mere three hours on Sunday, nearly 300 community members visited Monongahela Valley Hospital, but not for any medical emergencies or tests. The crowd toured the hospital’s new state-of-the-art surgical suites that are part of a $25 million expansion project.
“People here don’t realize what we have in our own backyards; MVH is state-of-the-art,” said Carol Griger of Donora, after touring the new suites.
“I’ve been here many, many times for surgery — five times since July — and they have you asleep before you get into the room,” said Jane Core, 75, of New Eagle. “I really wanted to see what the new rooms look like.”
Escorted by the hospital’s senior managers, each group of 25 to 30 people toured two of the four new surgical suites, which saw the first operations on Feb. 3. Staff will begin using the other two new suites in March.
A registered nurse (RN) in MVH’s Emergency Department, Doug Myers of Smock, brought his wife Julie and their girls Madelyn, 9 and Emily, 5, plus Julie’s mother, Patty Golden, of Smock, and her sister Tricia Golden, RN, of Waltersburg. Tricia works in MVH’s Intensive Care Unit.
In the first new OR, MVH President and CEO Louis J. Panza Jr. and Materials Manager of Surgical Services, Carol Soltes, RN, explained that each room’s equipment costs more than $800,000. The features include high definition monitors; the latest equipment and surgical lighting suspended from the ceiling on booms; a computer station for the nurses to digitally record and display patient information, automatic doors and recessed storage.
Mr. Panza also discussed what the guests could not see.
“There is four and a half feet of space above the ceiling here, and in all that space is 19,000 feet of conduit with 125,000 feet of wire,” Mr. Panza said, adding that with the booms and the conduits, the new rooms have no wires on the floor, ensuring maximum safety.
He said each 600 square-foot surgical suite has 19 air ducts bringing air in through a filtration system that expels it out a separate, specialized venting system.
He also explained that no seams exist in the solid poured floors to guarantee a sterile surface after cleaning, in case fluids would fall on the floor.
“This is a really big difference from when I was here, a lot has changed; they’re hard to believe, I am so glad I came,” said Joan Billie of Donora, who was a nurses aid at MVH for 22 years. She came with her friend Joseph Krusec and Rose Marie and Richard Kopanic, all of Donora.
Mr. Kopanic said Chief of Surgery Scott L. Baron, M.D., performed his total knee replacement at MVH on Nov. 11.
When the hospital opened its doors in 1978, it had eight surgical suites. Two of the original rooms will be repurposed, bringing the hospital’s total operating suites to ten. The new ORs are all identical in set up and equipment and the original suites will be upgraded as the expansion project continues.
OR Nurse Manager Donna Kemp, RN, and Rob Zeli, onsite rep for Karl Storz Endoscopy, stationed themselves in the second new OR to demonstrate the equipment.
First they showed a photo of a 4 millimeter tear in a knee on the high-definition monitors. They explained how minimally invasive surgery works by inserting a scope with a camera and the surgical equipment into small incisions.
It turns out, M&Ms are not that smooth when magnified 25 to 50 times. Mr. Zeli probed a Styrofoam cup full of M&M candies with an endoscope and projected the image onto the high-def screens.
This exercise illustrated the precision image the surgical team would see when performing minimally invasive surgery. Soltes said surgeons can also snap photos of a patient’s internal anatomy, record a video in high-definition and send the images directly into the hospital records system.
All of MVH’s doctors will be trained and certified on the new equipment and having the latest industry standard of care will help attract even more young, talented doctors to MVH. The new suites will also enable MVH to serve more patients with the latest technology; make scheduling easier and create jobs.