Auburn hospital on $9.1 million mission to upgrade operating rooms

Overhead booms will allow surgeries without carts being rolled in and out
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital is renovating and expanding all four of its operating rooms in a $9.1 million project that brings in state-of-the-art equipment intended to allow surgeons, nurses and staff to operate more safely and efficiently. The North Auburn hospital, which was recently rated as one of the best in California by Consumer Reports magazine in several categories, is doing the improvements one room at a time to not interfere with surgeries. Work started this past May and will take 22 months to complete. Dr. John Barnsdale, an anesthesia specialist and former chief of staff at the hospital, said that as well as increasing the square footage of the facility’s operating rooms, the revamp will mean much of the equipment and monitors will be arrayed on booms suspended from the ceiling and easily moved. “This is an investment in the hospital and in the community,” Barnsdale said. Instead of maneuvering wheeled equipment carts weighing 300 pounds in and out of operating rooms and dealing with cables on the floor, monitors and other key surgical equipment will be raised, lowered and maneuvered in a system that will free surgeons to further concentrate on the patient, Barnsdale said. The boom equipment is built by Stryker, a corporation based out of San Jose. Vic Greco, a sales and service representative with Stryker out of its Sacramento office, said he was born in the hospital. His brother, Alec, was also born at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital and the two – both Colfax High grads – are vendors for Stryker. “It’s been fun to participate in a project of this size in our community, at the hospital of our birth,” Vic Greco said. Historically, operating rooms have their equipment rolled in and out on carts for each procedure and doctors routinely fish through x-ray and MRI films to slap up on a back-lit film viewer to make a diagnosis, Greco said. “With these renovations, much of the equipment will go from rolling carts to fixed equipment booms,” Greco said. “And images will be routed from a touch screen to whichever monitor the doctor would like to view the image on.” Greco compares operating rooms of the past to having a garage band and have to set the garage up every day to practice. “You have to run cords, set up microphones, and position speakers and other equipment,” Greco said. “Then when you’re finished, you have to take it all down. The Stryker iSuite turns this garage into a music studio, eliminating equipment setup, running power cords and all the things that go into setup and teardown.” Barnsdale said that the expansion of operating rooms – two of which are the same size as when the hospital was founded in the 1960s – and the addition of the Stryker integration system will eliminate towers of equipment. Also part of the package will be the ability to better communicate with other parts of the hospital, better airflow and better sterilization, he said. “It’s going to be an incredible improvement in both time savings and getting our jobs done,” Barnsdale said. The comprehensive remodel will be completed by March 2014 and the upgrade is expected to cost $9.1 million, Sutter Health spokeswoman Robin Montgomery said.