The robotic arm of the Artis zeego allows patients to be scanned during procedures in Southampton Hospital’s brand new hybrid operating room. Photo courtesy of Southampton Hospital.
By Mara Certic
Southampton Hospital this week opened the doors to is newest addition, the Audrey and Martin Gruss Heart and Stroke Center, which includes brand new, state-of-the-art equipment and is expected to provide help for people suffering from vascular diseases from across the East End.
For the past two years, a committee comprised of nurses, doctors ,and architects has met every week to fine-tune plans for the new center, which will make surgeries more efficient, reduce recovery time and allow the hospital to perform procedures it has never been able to do before.
“Martin and I felt it was very important that our local hospital have the capability to conduct stroke and vascular distress intervention,” Audrey Gruss said in a press release issued by the hospital.
“Southampton Hospital is essential to all of us living in the East End, and we are honored to be part of its quest for excellence,” she added.
The new center, which was designed by Victor Famulari Architect, PC, was created in what was mostly pre-existing space. The brick façade blends in with the rest of the hospital’s exterior, but the inside of the new center looks more like an operating room from the future, than something one might expect in a small town hospital.
“I’m very excited. No, I’m beyond excited,” said Kathy Anderson, who has been an operating room nurse at the hospital for 24 years and sat on the planning committee for the new center.
Visitors to the center are met by a nurse’s station, new offices for nursing staff, and a centralized holding area for patients awaiting procedures. All the doors in the center open, not with a push or a pull, but with a simple wave of the hand, which will help prevent the spread of germs and diseases.
A new sterile core area benefits the existing operating rooms, as well as the two new ultramodern ones. The rooms are kitted out with cutting edge technology. Where carts holding surgical equipment were once were rolled around operating rooms, and surgeons had to turn their heads to look at screens flashing vital statistics, now everything is connected by overhead boons that are bendable, extendable and attached to the ceiling to allow for a full range of motion.
Electric sockets are now five feet up, which the designers say will increase efficacy, and there are six different television screens visible to surgeons in the new operating rooms.
One of the brand new operating rooms will mainly be used for orthopedic, bariatric and general surgeries.
The other operating room, the pièce de résistance of the whole addition, is a hybrid endovascular surgical suite, which will allow hospital surgeons to perform operations they’ve never been able do before.
The nurses, doctors, and managers are most excited about a new Siemens Healthcare Artis zeego, which is an advanced angiography system with unprecedented flexibility. In other words, it allows surgeons to perform CAT scans and visualize internal organs right in the operating room, completely eliminating inefficient movement of patients and providing a new sort of immediacy.
“Both the Stryker technicians and the Siemens technicians who helped us in the installation said bar none this is the nicest, best designed hybrid room of this type in the entire tri-state area,” said Dr. Fredric Weinbaum, executive vice president for operations and the chief medical officer for Southampton Hospital, during a tour of the new facility in March.
The almost dinosaur-like robotic arm of the Artis zeego allows the equipment to be moved into almost any position around the patient.
“Everything you can do in an angiogram suite, you can do here,” Dr. Weinbaum said in the hybrid operating room.
The new suite will allow surgeons to use stents and catheters to perform surgeries that previously were only available to patients at Stony Brook University Hospital, and facilities even further afield.
Carotid stenting and arterial intervention will allow surgeons to treat those with vascular diseases and do preventive surgery for aneurysms.
“Interventional surgery is the future,” Ms. Anderson said.
“We used to repair aneurysms with an incision this big,” she said, pointing from her sternum to her navel. With the new machine, an extending stent will be inserted through a small incision in the groin, dramatically decreasing the size of the scar and reducing recovery time in the hospital from seven to 10 days to 24 hours.
According to Dr. Weinbaum, two doctors from Stony Brook University Hospital have already received privileges to use the cutting edge technology in Southampton, which will allow them to treat their East End patients a little closer to home.
“And of course,” Dr. Weinbaum said, “we have the one thing that all surgeons want.” No, not a scalpel sharpener, but a state-of-the-art sound system which connects to iPads, iPhones and other musical devices.
“The end result is all about what’s best for the patient,” Dr. Weinbaum said. “And what’s good for the surgeon is good for the patient.”