Hospital to build two operating rooms

Long wait times and a dire need for more operating space have prompted GW Hospital to add an additional two operating rooms on its second floor, a hospital spokeswoman said last week.

The hospital’s director of marketing, Lisa McDonald, said the first phase of the construction is currently in progress and will cost approximately $10 million to complete. The renovations are being funded by Universal Health Services, which owns and operates GW Hospital.

McDonald said the hospital’s new rooms will be located on the second floor of the hospital, near the existing operating rooms. GW Hospital is also renovating the post-anesthesia unit (PACU), attempting to make more room for both pre-operative and post-operative patients undergoing anesthesia. Due to the construction of the rooms, an intensive care unit will be moved to the sixth floor.

The hospital has become incredibly backed up due to an increase in demand for surgery and surgical procedures – from 2005 to 2009 the number of surgical cases increased an average of 4.9 percent each year, McDonald said. The hospital hopes the new operating rooms will reduce the waiting times.

“GW has experienced a growth in surgical procedures and it is essential to create additional space to accommodate the surgeons on our medical staff,” McDonald said.

While the construction is happening, the hospital will continue to utilize the operating space in the main hospital, the hospital’s chief operating officer Kimberly Russo said at an ANC meeting last April. In addition to the operating rooms available in the main hospital, GW operates an Ambulatory Surgery Center, which is located near 22nd and L streets and consists of three operating rooms and two procedure rooms.

“As expected, a large portion of the outpatient or same-day surgical procedures previously performed at the main hospital are now performed at the ASC,” McDonald said. “However, any surgical procedure requiring an overnight stay must be performed at the main hospital.”

Hitt Contracting, Inc., the company managing the construction, confirmed that the construction will take about 12 to 18 months and began in January.

McDonald said the construction is “entirely an interior project” and that they “do not anticipate noise outside the hospital.”

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