Saskatoon City Hospital’s Operating Room is a busy place.
One of the busiest departments at Saskatoon City Hospital is its operating room (O.R.). With 12 separate operating theatres, the O.R. performs dozens of surgeries every day, adding up to almost 12,000 procedures every year.
Procedures performed include gynecology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, cystoscopy, urology, and cancer-related surgeries, so, it’s very probable you know someone who’s had an operation at Saskatoon City Hospital. It could be your parent having their vision corrected, an uncle or aunt getting a new hip, or a friend being treated for kidney stones.
As the population in Saskatchewan both grows and ages, the variety of and number of procedures performed in the O.R. increases every year. This takes a toll on the equipment used.
Terry Nixey, manager of the Operating Room at the hospital says there are two factors affecting equipment, the first being age. “Many pieces we’ve identified have reached end of life. They’re at the point or almost to the point where they can’t be repaired and aren’t supported by manufacturers. Replacement is the only option, especially for pieces that are critical need.”
Heavy usage is the other factor, Nixey adds. “Because they’re frequently used, pieces may wear out or break down faster. It’s important to replace and upgrade to ensure the flow of procedures is maintained.”
“This is why we’ve decided it’s time for Making the O.R. a PriORity,” says Foundation CEO Steve Shannon. “We’re asking you to help us provide the best and latest for the awesome people who work in the O.R. We need your help to ensure that patients – people like your grandma, your uncle, your son – and maybe you – have timely access to critical procedures.”
You can help the Foundation raise $3.7 million to ensure this, Shannon says, adding some wonderful news. “We’re starting with a huge boost, thanks to great friends of the hospital, Irene and Leslie Dubé. Irene and Leslie agree the O.R. is a priority. They’ve lovingly given us $1 million to get it all going because they believe this is so important.”
Shannon adds that the alternative is unthinkable. “If equipment isn’t maintained or replaced, it will break down. Surgeries will be cancelled. Patients will have to wait longer and often while dealing with pain or the stress of a poorer quality of life.
One of the largest components is an upgrade of the O.R.’s cystoscopy suite.
“We call the room a cystoscopy suite but it’s really a full service operating theatre specifically used for urology operative procedures,” reports Dr. Kunal Jana, urologist and surgeon. “The current table in the room is 26 years old and has some limited functionality. It’s no longer supported and it breaks down monthly. We’ve been told it’s close to the point where parts will soon no longer be available so there’ll be a time soon when it breaks down and it’s simply not reparable.”
Like all parts of the O.R., Dr. Jana says the cystoscopy suite is well used. “The room is used for at least three days a week and sometimes more with six to eight patients every day. That’s at the minimum. So, if the equipment breaks down, that’s two dozen or more patients every week who will have to be placed for procedures elsewhere in the system.”
Jana says procedures include urological stone treatments, greenlight laser prostate cancer surgery, bladder cancer surgery, and endoscopic urology. But new equipment would allow Saskatoon City Hospital to become the first in Sasatchewan to offer videourodynamics. It’ll be used to treat patients with incontinence of neurogenic bladders conditions. “The end result is that the new cystoscopy suite will really improve lives.”
Another major piece of Making the O.R. a PriORity is a Zeiss ophthalmologic microscope. “In ophthalmology, almost all surgeries require the use of a microscope,” says Dr. Ravi Nrusimhadevara, noting this incudes cataract removal, retinal surgeries (vitrectomies), glaucoma procedures and others. “It’s really universally used by all surgeons and we’re using it four days every week for 50 weeks of the year.”
The current microscope is 10 years old and showing its age – some pieces are cracking and held in place with duct tape. But Dr. Ravi says a new microscope will have technical advantages. “The current microscope is two generations behind. The new piece will be digital so it provides much better resolution. For eye surgery, we’re often dealing with tissue that is only one micron thick, so better resolution of the microscope means better outcomes for patients.”
With thousands of surgical tools, pans, trays and other items used daily, it’s vital and necessary to have a sufficient process for sterilization. The hospital’s Medical Device Reprocessing department works 16 hours a day to rinse, wash, inspect, sort, bundle, and then steam sterilize endless pieces of equipment. It’s currently hindered by an aging cart washer and two of its four steam sterilizers are permanently shut down. For more details, read the article on the following pages.
Myong Younghusband, director of Operative Care at the hospital says the O.R.’s own autoclave (steam sterilizer) also needs to be replaced. “It’s used for what we call emergent cases. If a tool or piece is dropped during surgery but still needed, having an autoclave right in the O.R. is crucial. It can be sterilized and used right away instead of having to be sent to our Medical Device Reprocessing department.”