“When you buy a new TV and turn it on, the first thing you say is ‘Wow, that’s so much clearer’,” says Dr. Joel Weaver. “I’m looking forward to saying that in the operating room too.”
Dr. Weaver is one of the 50 surgeons at Queensway Carleton Hospital . They perform more than 25,000 operations each year. He has practiced general surgery at Queensway Carleton Hospital for more than a decade and is just finishing a six-year term as Chief of Surgery.
While the physical space in the OR is big and bright, Dr. Weaver says the equipment needs updating. In fact, a lot of it hasn’t changed since the OR doubled in size back in 2007 – which is unfortunately very common in hospitals. “Most people change their computers and technology at home much more often,” he notes. “It’s all safe. But it’s definitely time.”
As a general surgeon, Dr. Weaver says the introduction of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery has made the biggest impact on his practice. “It has changed the landscape for all surgeons and, more importantly, for our patients. We can get them out of the hospital quicker, with smaller incisions, less pain and faster recoveries,” he says.
Dr. Weaver says the new ORs will have a similar impact. In fact, the new equipment and fixtures will be used by every surgeon who works at Queensway Carleton Hospital.
“It’s the new standard of care,” he says. “Let’s look at a cancer patient who needs to have surgery followed by chemotherapy. Before laparoscopic surgery, the patient needed to wait longer after surgery to recover and recoup before chemotherapy could start. With this new technology, we can speed up the treatment process. A post-surgery hospital stay of 7 days is now 3 or 4, meaning the patient can go home sooner, to recover more comfortably surrounded by family.”
The renovated ORs will also offer a more efficient design, with technology close at hand. Surgical teams will have the better-resolution cameras which Dr. Weaver says will be a great improvement. “Take a splenectomy for example,” he explains. “There can be a lot of bleeding and refracted light darkens the environment. With better lighting and monitors, I have a better threshold to work in and can avoid having to potentially move from a laparoscopic procedure to a more-invasive operation.”
Dr. Weaver says Queensway Carleton Hospital’s focus on joint replacement surgery means these improvements are more important than ever. Queensway Carleton Hospital is a regional partner in the Champlain Regional Hip and Knee Replacement Program and a leader in people-centred advances in orthopedic surgery. This surgery includes hip, knee and shoulder replacements. “It’s a good news story and we want to ensure we have the best possible equipment and environment to serve these patients,” he says.
Investments in equipment and innovation will benefit every patient who comes through the OR doors, from simple diagnostic procedures to life-saving emergency care. “It’s unbelievable how the surgery program has ballooned in size,” sums up Dr. Weaver. “We used to be a quiet, community hospital and now we are serving a much larger population with more services and more surgical procedures. We are no longer a sleepy little place. It’s definitely an exciting time at Queensway Carleton Hospital.”