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New surgical department pleases ETMC Athens docs and patients

New Surgery ETMC Athens 

 Ask Dr. Tina Elkins about the new surgical department at ETMC Athens, and a smile leaps to her face.

“Oh, I’m very happy,” said the ear, nose and throat specialist, standing in one of two brand new operating rooms. “There is just so much room in here, and we get to keep our equipment in the room now because it’s so spacious. We have access to X-rays right in the rooms. It’s wonderful.”

The hospital’s new surgical department has six operating rooms in all — two of them new — and a new recovery unit with nine beds. There is also a new day surgery unit with 16 beds. All outpatient registration and pre-surgical testing is done on the same floor for easy in-and-out access with improved privacy. In addition to the two new operating rooms, plans are in place to refurbish the existing OR’s.

“Our department used to be divided between the first and second floors,” said Denise Gabbert, director of surgical services/day surgery and the outpatient surgery coordinator. “Now everything is together on the second floor. So there’s better patient flow and more privacy.”

As an example of that privacy, each of the 16 patient bays in the new day surgery area is contained.

“Patients who have had a procedure done here previously and then have come in and seen the new place really seem to like it,” said Gabbert. “And the surgeons really love the new rooms.”

The surgical department at ETMC Athens typically handles about 400 cases a month. The doctors performing surgery include ear-nose-and-throat specialists, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists, urologists, a general surgeon, a podiatrist, several OB/GYNs, a pain specialist and family practice doctors.

In addition to the surgical department, the OB department recently unveiled eight new, spacious LDRP (Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum) rooms. With an LDRP room, in most cases, a woman will not need to change rooms during her stay. Refurbishing on the existing seven patient rooms in the OB has begun, and the existing labor rooms will make way for a new 15-bassinet nursery. The entire renovation should be completed around the end of 2011.

The new ER features 21 exam rooms, many with windows, and two trauma rooms. Physician staffing has also been increased in order to reduce patient wait times.

The new ICU has 10 spacious patient rooms, up from eight beds previously, and features the latest in monitoring equipment from Spacelabs, a leading manufacturer and supplier. The ETMC Athens ICU is the first hospital in Texas to install the new, top-of-line equipment.