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Saanich hospital gives peek at new ORs

Aug 24 2012

The public got to see the results of $9.9-million, 8,900-square-foot renovation at Saanich Peninsula Hospital on Thursday, including three new operating rooms, two of which are decked out with high-tech equipment.

New operating capacity at the hospital should mean patients have quicker surgeries procedures and fewer complications, said Dr. Fulvio Casciola, a gynecologist who's worked at the facility for 13 years.

"It's incredibly exciting," said Casciola as the public toured the site. "It's like buying your first car or something. It's phenomenal."

The operating suite includes an endoscopy/integrated procedure room. The third operating room is available to meet future demand.

Lights and equipment in each room can be adjusted using a single touch screen. Two computers in each operating room give surgeons, medical students and nurses visual access to vital patient information and medical imaging.

When Casciola came to the hospital in 1999, the operating rooms were adequate, he said.

"Now, when you're faced with the state of the art, you realize how far we've dropped behind."

The amount of space in the operating rooms is as welcome as the new technological marvels.

"It doesn't change the range of operations you can do, but it changes the ease of surgery," Casciola said.

"The surgeries will be easier on the surgeon and nursing staff, with less fatigue."

The range of surgeries performed at the hospital won't change because that kind of thing is determined by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, said Casciola.

The doctors and surgical staff are anxious to get into the new operating rooms, said Casciola. The first surgeries are expected to take place in early September.

"Everybody's anxious but really, really excited," Casciola said.

In addition to the renovated operating rooms, which cost $6.8 million, the hospital's electrical system was brought up to date at a cost of $3.1 million.

The upgrades were covered by the province ($2.9 million), the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation ($5.2 million), the Capital Regional Hospital District ($1.8 million).

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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