Community Hospital Expands Surgical Services, Focus on Patient Safety, Comfort and Specialty Procedures

By: Community Healthcare System Last Updated: April 4, 2017

Community-Hospital-Expands-Surgical-Services-Focus-on-Patient-Safety-Comfort-and-Specialty-ProceduresCommunity Hospital’s multi-phase, $20 million Surgical Services department construction project is near completion in Munster. Started in 2013, the project has added private patient rooms, doubled the capacity of the Neonatal unit and increased capacity for stroke and heart patients.

With the addition of Parkview Tower at the outer northwest corner of the hospital and relocation of the Family Birthing Center, space became available for the surgical expansion on the main floor of the hospital.

“Our patients look to Community Hospital for a high quality experience with caring doctors and staff and for the latest technology,” said Lou Molina, CEO. “Our healthcare professionals have earned some of the highest levels of recognition in the country for orthopedic, bariatric and neurosurgeries. These achievements, along with an ongoing evolution in technology and the need to make available more intricate spine, cardiothoracic and valve surgeries closer to home are the reasons we are taking this opportunity to expand.”

Thoughtful planning and consideration has been given to all aspects of the project with the goal of helping patients achieve their best health following surgery. Features include:

  • Construction of a hybrid surgical suite that enables both traditional open chest and minimally-invasive cardiac procedures, such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), and neuro endovascular procedures, those used to treat brain aneurysms and stroke
  • Complete renovation of four existing operating rooms to accommodate the latest technology, including two robot-assisted da Vinci Si Surgical Systems®, Image Stream video integration systems and surgical navigation systems
  • Construction of four new fully-integrated operating suites for complex neurosurgery, spine surgery and orthopedic procedures
  • Remodeled surgical admission and post-anesthesia units and surgical holding room

“The fully integrated hybrid operating suite allows our surgeons to perform a wider variety of minimally-invasive procedures and care for patients who previously would not be able to tolerate a major surgery,” said Richard Berkowitz, MD, medical director of Surgical Services. “For example, our specially trained cardiovascular team is using a minimally invasive cardiac procedure for structural heart disease known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR. This approach is preferable for patients who are weak, fragile or have co-conditions and would not be considered ideal candidates for a traditional open chest surgery.”

Through the use of minimally-invasive techniques such as TAVR, patients can benefit from shorter hospital stays, smaller surgical incisions with less scar tissue and less trauma to the body. Other benefits include less pain and blood loss and a reduced risk of infection. Also, these patients typically have a quicker return to normal activities.

“The rooms also are designed to allow for flexibility of equipment placement, ease of use and accessibility for surgeons and staff,” says John Olmstead, RN, director of Surgical Services. “These design elements allow us to adapt our ORs to a variety of procedures and future technologies as well.”

For example, new lighting from Trumpf Medical uses robotic focus. This feature provides sharper visualization of the surgical field without glare or shadow and produces 25 percent more light for surgeons.

With advanced video integration technology, surgeons and anesthesiologists can view multiple forms of information simultaneously, including blood pressures inside the body, radiology images as well as patient vital signs and images taken prior to surgery. Previously, this information was accessed and viewed from a single monitor.

“Each surgeon can maintain a library of images for a particular patient’s procedure,” explains Berkowitz. “By accessing the library immediately following surgery, he/she can more easily show the patient’s family images from an iPad or computer. We no longer need to wait for hard copies.”

“These new video capabilities also enable us to more easily provide learning opportunities to medical school partners,” he says. “Physicians can present ‘live’ observations via satellite video feed to medical students and colleagues, similar to ‘operative theaters’ in a teaching hospital setting.”

The redesigned area includes 16 post-anesthesia care unit beds, expanded from the previous10 beds. In addition, 27 surgical procedure beds have been included to accommodate the increase in same-day surgeries.

Estimated date of completion of the last phase of the construction project is April 2017.

Five years ago, Community Hospital invested more than $40 million to build a new Emergency Department Pavilion and add private rooms to three floors of the hospital. Like this newest construction project, the expansion adds advanced technology, new comforts for patients and families and new efficiencies that enable the healthcare team to offer the highest quality treatment to patients.

For more information about the quality care and advances in surgical technology found at Community Hospital in Munster, visit