North Arundel Hospital plans $13 million project Expansion to relieve crowded surgery

October 27, 1992|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

Things have gotten pretty hectic around the Operating Room at North Arundel Hospital.

One patient, said Dr. Leo A. Courtney, was scheduled recently for hemorrhoid surgery in the mid-afternoon. But things got so busy, with emergencies and all, the surgery was postponed three times. By the time his doctor finally got an available operating room, it was 2 a.m. the next morning.

Dr. Courtney, chief of orthopedic and hand surgery at the Glen Burnie hospital, said surgeries do not often start that far behind schedule. But operating rooms are regularly used until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., even for elective surgery, because of increased demand.

To remedy the situation, North Arundel is preparing to embark on a $13 million expansion and renovation project, adding four operating rooms to the nine already in use.

The project also calls for a 318-car parking garage and major renovations to several departments.

"It's definitely a needed expansion," Dr. Courtney said. "It's just getting so busy now, it's hard for doctors to schedule their surgeries," he said.

"This project is going to permit us to handle the volume of surger

ies much better," said P. Wyatt Medicus, executive vice president of the hospital. "It will provide better facilities and help us to modernize and be more efficient."

The expansion and renovation phase of the project, which will begin in April, will add more than 25,000 square feet to the hospital -- 20,000 for the new operating rooms and 5,300 for a new pharmacy. This portion will take about 28 months to complete, Mr. Medicus said.

Construction of the parking garage, which will be 3 1/2 stories high and include a pedestrian walkway to the hospital, will begin in January and take about 10 months to complete.

The $13 million project, which the hospital will finance by selling tax-exempt bonds, will not affect the hospital's rates for patient services, said Mr. Medicus.

First opened in 1965, the 329-bed facility on Hospital Drive has seen a steady increase in the number of patients served over the years, said Nancy Liskey, nursing administrator for the operating room.

Ms. Liskey, who has worked as a nurse at the hospital since 1969, said the hospital handled 9,939 surgeries in 1991.

"We need to provide more prime time for surgeons and surgery. We're just so strapped for time right now for elective surgery," she said.

The renovation project will also double the number of pre-surgery preparation areas from seven to 14 cubicles; add two OR "shells," which can be converted to operating rooms if needed in the future; double the size of the endoscopy department; add a large central storage area for surgery; and standardize the size of existing operating rooms.

Two of the current operating rooms are too small to use the largest pieces of equipment, said Ms. Liskey, making it even more difficult to juggle the surgery schedule.

"This [renovation] will resolve that, so at least we don't have fights over who needs the bigger rooms for their surgery," she said.

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