SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ketchikan General Hospital's surgical facilities need overhauling


May 20, 2008

Ketchikan, Alaska - Ketchikan General Hospital strives to provide the highest level of surgical services in southern Southeast Alaska. The hospital's technology is state of the art, the surgeons are among the finest in the state, and the nurses are professional and experienced. However, these skilled professionals operate in a surgical center with little changed in the forty-five years since the hospital was built.

Rep. Johansen, his Legislative Aide Sonia Christensen, recently toured the hospital's surgical center. Also pictured is one of KGH's General Surgeons, Deborah Aaron.
Photograph courtesy KGH

State Representative Kyle Johansen (R-Ketchikan) recently toured the hospital to see first hand the need to overhaul Ketchikan General Hospital's surgical suites. "Now that I have seen the OR, I can better understand the need for the expansion and renovation. The rooms are very small and outdated."

According to information provided by Marty West, KGH Community Relations Specialist, the present surgical support areas are sized to accommodate half the volume they support today and the operating rooms are also undersized for the type of procedures, equipment, and practice that now occurs in Ketchikan. The endoscope suite lacks critical support space and with the increased demand for endoscopy procedures, there is a need for a second procedure room. Both the Ketchikan City and Ketchikan Borough governments placed the remodel of the hospital's surgical suite high on their request list for state funding.

Ketchikan General Hospital CEO Pat Branco stressed the need for the new facilities, "While equipment updates and minor space modifications have kept the surgery suite safe for patient care, it is far from optimal. Room sizes and configuration result in inefficiencies and present a constant challenge in accommodating advanced technology and equipment."

Over twenty physicians are based in Ketchikan, including two OB/Gyns, two orthopedic surgeons, and two general surgeons. Additionally, visiting ophthalmologists, a plastic surgeon, urologist, ENT, dental surgeons and internal medicine physicians use the hospital's surgery and procedure facilities.

Pediatrician David Johnson has been in practice in Ketchikan over 30 years and has witnessed the need for change to accommodate technological innovations. "Since then surgical and anesthesia care has changed by orders of magnitude: it is time to construct a surgical suite that will assist rather than impede continued improvements in patient care."

Representative Johansen has sponsored a $4.4 million appropriation as a state match to revamp Ketchikan General Hospital's surgical suite.

The state budget is now under review and Governor Sarah Palin is expected to veto some projects; however, Representative Johansen is hopeful the hospital project will survive. "I hope the Governor understands how much this project is needed in the Community of Ketchikan, and allows it to survive the veto process," said Johansen.


Source of News:

Ketchikan General Hospital

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