Hospital surgical services are improved through community support

Surgeons at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospita are now using improved and updated equipment and technology, made possible by a year-long project that resulted in nearly $1 million in improvements.

Every year, thousands of local residents will require surgery, either to treat a chronic illness or condition, to deliver a baby (by caesarean section), or to treat a medical emergency. Approximately 2,000 of these community members will undergo their surgery at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

The SNMH surgical team received a big boost this year, thanks to the success of a nearly $1 million improvement project, made possible through a combination of hospital investment and philanthropic support from the community.

“The surgery campaign was launched in July 2021,” says Kimberly Parker, executive director of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. “Last year, the management of the SNMH hospital invested more than $600,000 to improve the infrastructure of the surgical department. To support this effort, the Board of Directors of the SNMH Foundation has voted to raise essential funds for the equipment.



The SNMH Foundation’s goal was to raise $350,000 (in addition to the hospital’s investment) to purchase the technology and equipment needed to ensure that the surgery department remains a reliable, high quality service for the patients. The SNMH Foundation is on the verge of reaching its final goal with the hope of achieving it this week.

Support comes at an important time. Last year, SNMH performed 1,902 surgeries, up slightly from the previous year but down from the normal average, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital predicts an increase of at least 25% in surgeries in the future.



Doctors agree that improvements to operating rooms will make a difference.

“All of these devices and technologies have been graciously supported by the SNMH Foundation, enabling our surgeons and other physicians to remain competent, up-to-date, and safe in the care they provide,” says Thomas Boyle, MD, Surgeon General and Chief staff at SNMH. “It also allows the local community to get the level of care they would receive nationally.”

Dr. Boyle mentions five pieces of equipment that he believes will have a particular impact on patients and the doctors who care for them:

RFID: A location marker used in breast cancer surgery, this tool offers improved efficiency, allowing doctors to process cases without the delays that sometimes occur with radiology.

New electrocautery: a safer and more reliable tool to reduce bleeding in surgical patients, reduce patient risk and decrease blood loss.

New ultrasound machine: used for nerve blocks, especially for orthopedic surgery (shoulder, hand and foot related surgeries), this tool is also used to place a central line for resuscitation and for hemodialysis – which are crucial for the care of the sickest patients.

New video technology: Used in gallbladder and bowel surgeries, this will allow doctors to better prevent injuries and better predict blood supply for better healing in procedures such as bowel resections.

Wireless Probe: Used for a radioactive detection method specifically used to assess lymph nodes, typically in breast cancer related surgeries as well as melanoma skin cancers.

“The new equipment benefits our patients and our community by enabling surgeries to be performed locally,” says Thomas Luisetti, MD, anesthetist and vice chief of staff at SNMH. “Often the procedures that can be done safely in a hospital are limited by the equipment the hospital has. The better the equipment, the better the doctors and nurses can do their jobs.

Additionally, updated equipment and technology demonstrates a commitment to high standards that helps attract new suppliers to the region.

Such investments are particularly difficult, but perhaps even more important, when the economy is struggling.

“Community investment in our local hospital is critical in an increasingly challenging financial environment,” says Stephen Waterbrook, MD, general surgeon at SNMH. “We are grateful for the generosity that helps us provide the latest care, every donation literally saves lives.”

Dr. Boyle credits the support of the community, the hospital and the SNMH Foundation with enabling him and his colleagues to carry out their healing mission.

“Being allowed to practice with current technology allows us to accomplish our purpose in life, which is actually our purpose,” says Dr. Boyle. “This allows us to maintain our vision for the future of medicine locally and is consistent with our hospital’s mission and its affiliation with Dignity Health and CommonSpirit Health. This allows us to succeed. »

Parker expresses his gratitude to everyone whose generosity helped make the project possible.

“I want to thank our community for their generosity towards this very important project which will affect thousands of people,” said Kimberly Parker, Chief Executive Officer of the SNMH Foundation. “A successful surgery can breathe new life into someone, can alleviate a chronic pain issue like a knee or hip replacement, and will keep people in our community for their care. »

Christine E. Phillips