The New Face of Memorial Hospital

By+Judy Bradford

Welcome to a New Era of Care.


If you’re heading into surgery at Memorial Hospital, chances are you’ll already be unconscious and won’t be able to appreciate the new operating rooms.

But you may be able to relax more, knowing that the surgical teams’ needs for space, light and access to surgery equipment have been met.

“It’s easier to set up, get everything cranking, and there are no struggles for space,‘’ said Dr. Robert Yount, a neurosurgeon who has been using the suites since they opened last fall. “They’re spectacular, compared to the old surgery rooms.  They make it easier for me to be a good surgeon.’’

Large, overhead booms swing surgical equipment right over the operating table, replacing equipment carts that had to be hauled in along with cords that littered the operating room floor.

Computer screens support state-of-the-art visual technology, and are within easy reach of the surgeons, allowing operations to proceed without a hitch.

The operating rooms are double the size of the old ones, giving surgical teams 700 to 750 square feet to move about in during procedures.

“On Thanksgiving Day, we (the hospital) did two craniotomies simultaneously,’’ says Dr. Yount.  “This is a procedure where you have to open up the brain, and it would have been unthinkable to do this with the old operating rooms.’’

The needs of surgeons and their teams were well researched before construction began. Administrators spent about 18 months talking with physicians about their work, and how to make the operating rooms work better for them.

Dr. Michael Rodriguez, an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in treating women with cancer of the reproductive organs, especially likes the big video screens that make it easier to do minimally-invasive, robotic surgery.

“All the screens are high definition, and everything is state of the art. It’s definitely a more pleasant environment to do surgery, and I think it helps the staff rededicate themselves towards a more positive experience for
the patient.’’

But there’s more to the surgical area renovation than the operating rooms.

Chances are, you’d be under general anesthesia for a procedure and wouldn’t even  notice these changes. But if you’re under a local or regional anesthesia, you might notice the wider hallways leading to the operating room where you’ll have your procedure, or the large windows that let in natural light.

And it’s always nice to know that surgical teams are well rested. To help with that, the hospital created large, new lounges with skylights for both surgeons and staff.  Before they start your procedure, they’ve had the chance to rest, eat or have a cup of coffee in a place that has lifted their spirits and helped them stay mentally fit.

“For years before the renovation, the entire surgery area was windowless,’’ says Anne C. Mizani, Quality Improvement/Scheduling Manager for surgical services at Memorial.  “You came to work in the morning and went home without seeing the outside.’’

When surgical staff have been able to see the sunshine, or at least what the weather’s like outside, they’re better able to focus on procedures that require microscopic equipment and focused concentration, says general surgeon Dr. Mark Thompson.

“Memorial has done a good job of appreciating the forest without neglecting the trees,‘’ says Thompson, who operates on anything from the neck to the legs like appendices, hernias, different types of cancer and points of trauma. “In the grand scheme of things, the renovation of the surgery area benefits patients.  A happy surgeon with a quality, safe environment is truly a benefit to patient care.’’

The surgical area renovation is part of a $70 million project that also reworked the lobby—an area that patients can definitely see and sense no matter what they come to the hospital for.

“Wisdom and Well-Being” was the guiding theme used to remodel and decorate the new lobby so that it makes the patient experience a better one.

Attached to the west side of the lobby are clear, plastic plaques indicating certification from evaluating organizations.  They come from the American College of Surgeons, the College of American Pathologists, and the Commission on Cancer, just to name a few.
“We spend many, many hours getting certifications,’’ explains Diane Stover, Vice President, Marketing and Innovation Strategy.  “We do all that hard work, and then we put those certifications in a drawer.  So, this wall displays the fact that external groups have been here and have looked at what we do.’’

The west wall also tells you the hospital’s “five core values,’’—Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Excellence and Safety.

Overall décor includes warm, cherry wood flooring and natural colors and textures all designed to help you de-stress with some quiet, peaceful moments.  “We treat people who are heads of corporations, and who are very driven,’’ said Stover.  “But the day they come here, they’re anxious and, in a sense, lost.  We want them to have those moments when they can find some peace.  The lobby is our front door, and we wanted to make sure it was relevant, because you don’t get very many opportunities to create a new front door.’’


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