HMC Surgical Services

    Surgery: A Glance Behind the Scenes

    At Hamilton Medical Center, your safety is our number one priority.
    Hamilton makes preparations to ensure your safety long before you arrive for your surgery. The process actually begins the moment you decide to have surgery at the Hospital.
    When a physician’s office calls us to schedule a patient’s surgery, our schedulers begin the planning process. They are trained to understand exactly what is needed to perform surgical procedures so the equipment and supply needs of each case can be automatically readied.
    After a patient’s surgical procedure is scheduled, his or her name goes into a computer program that links it to a preference card. Preference cards help determine every piece of equipment that will be needed for a particular procedure from staffing and surgical tools to drapes and gowns.

    Pre-Admission Testing

    Anywhere from two weeks to 72 hours before surgery, each surgical patient will undergo pre-admission testing. In this appointment, the patient will receive a physical assessment and discuss his or her medical history with a physician. While every patient receives blood work to evaluate things like blood count and hemoglobin and electrolyte levels, some patients may have to undergo additional testing.
    Additional testing may be required based on a patient’s medical history or lifestyle.  For instance, if you’re a smoker, you’re going to be getting a chest x-ray. We don’t want to put anyone to sleep without knowing the condition of their lungs—we want to know they expand properly and take normal oxygen and make sure there’s no tumor.
    In addition to ensuring a patient is physically ready for a procedure, patients are also educated about the procedure that will be performed, what they need to do to prepare for surgery, and possible outcomes and complications. At this time, patients are welcome to ask questions or express any pre-surgery concerns. At the end of the appointment, patients are given any necessary supplies they might need prior to surgery.

    Preparing for Your Surgery

    As a patient arrives for surgery, a team of three or four people is preparing the room with the appropriate equipment, tools, and medications. Each room is designated to a specific patient, allowing for very specific, personalized preparation.
    We have extremely high standards for preparing rooms.  Sterilization indicators are used to confirm that everything is sterile and meets requirements of The Joint Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each instrument is monitored while it is cleaned until the moment it is used on the patient.
    In addition to sterilizing equipment, each patient’s room is sterilized from floor to ceiling. While this extensive work isn’t required, we pride ourselves in providing every single patient with the safest, cleanest environment possible.

    While You Were Sleeping…

    Some of the most interesting and reassuring steps we take at Hamilton to maintain our great patient outcomes happen while our patients are fast asleep. Before the first incision is ever made—no matter how minor or short a procedure—we go over a checklist that addresses questions like:
    • Do we have the correct patient?
    • Do we have the correct surgeon?
    • Do we have all the necessary tools?
    • Are we operating on the correct area?
    Once this step is complete, surgery begins. During the procedure, a team of nurses will assist the surgeon, handing him or her the proper tools for various tasks.
    Having assistance from a nurse allows our surgeons to focus their complete attention on the patient and not on the equipment.  This means our nurses must anticipate the surgeons’ needs. It works like two professional dancers—if a partner moves his right leg, you have to move your left so that nobody trips.
    Prior to closing a patient’s incision, a count is always conducted for every tool our surgeons had at the start of surgery. This eliminates any possibility of accidentally leaving equipment in a patient’s body.

    Care Doesn’t Stop There

    Following a procedure, all patients are taken to a recovery area, where a critical care trained nurse will care for just one patient until that patient is awake. Before a patient is discharged, a nurse ensures that he or she can swallow and keep down liquids and explains medications and discharge instructions.
    For patients going to the post-surgical floor or to post-surgical critical care, communication is maintained between the recovery nurse and the nurse who will take over care. Hamilton utilizes best practices—meaning while care is personal and individualized, we have determined the best ways to treat each patient after specific surgeries.
    Hamilton Medical Center is among the best in the nation.  We value quality of care so highly, and our drive to keep providing great patient outcomes never stops.