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Hospital’s Surgical Services Are Enhanced Through Community Support

Hospital’s Surgical Services Are Enhanced Through Community Support

by Mary Beth TeSelle, Sponsored Content
Surgeons at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospitaare now using enhanced and updated equipment and technology, made possible by a year-long project that resulted in nearly a million dollars in improvements.

Every year, thousands of local residents will find themselves in need of surgery, either to address a chronic illness or condition, or to deliver a baby (via Cesarean section), or to treat a medical emergency. Approximately 2,000 of those community members will have their surgery performed at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

The surgical team at SNMH received a big boost this year, thanks to the success of a nearly million-dollar enhancement project, made possible by a combination of hospital investment and philanthropic support from the community.

“The surgery campaign launched in July 2021,” says Kimberly Parker, Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. “Last year SNMH hospital leadership invested more than $600,000 to enhance the infrastructure of the surgery department. To support that effort, SNMH Foundation Board of Directors voted to raise essential funding for equipment.”



SNMH Foundation’s goal was to raise $350,000 (in addition to the hospital’s investment) to purchase necessary technology and equipment to ensure the surgery department remains a high quality and reliable service for patients. SNMH Foundation is very close to hitting their final goal with the hope to reach it this week.

The support comes at an important time. Last year, SNMH provided 1,902 surgeries, up slightly from the year before but down from the normal average, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital anticipates at least a 25% increase in surgeries moving forward.



Physicians agree that the enhancements in the operating rooms will be a difference maker.

“All of these devices and technologies have been graciously supported by the SNMH Foundation, allowing our surgeons and other physicians to remain proficient, up to date, and safe in the care that they provide,” says Thomas Boyle, MD, general surgeon and Chief of Staff at SNMH. “This also allows for the local community to get the standard of care they would receive nationwide.”

Dr. Boyle points to five pieces of equipment that he believes will be particularly impactful to patients and the physicians who care for them:

RFID: A localizer marker used in breast cancer related surgery, this tool provides improved efficiency, allowing physicians to do cases without the delays that sometimes occur with radiology.

New Electrocautery: A safer, more reliable tool to lessen bleeding in surgical patients, reducing risks for the patient and decreasing blood loss.

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

New Video Technology: Used in gall bladder and bowel surgeries, this will allow physicians to better prevent injuries and better predict blood supply for improved healing in procedures like bowel resections.

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

“The new equipment benefits our patients and our community by allowing surgical procedures to be performed locally,” says Thomas Luisetti, MD, anesthesiologist and Vice Chief of Staff at SNMH. “Often times the procedures that can be performed safely at a hospital are limited by the equipment the hospital possesses. The better the equipment, the better physicians and nurses can do their jobs.”

In addition, updated equipment and technology deomstrates a commitment to high standards which helps to attract new providers to the area.

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

“Community investment in our local hospital is critical in the increasingly difficult financial environment,” says Stephen Waterbrook, MD, general surgeon at SNMH. “We are thankful for the generosity that helps us give the most up-to-date care, each gift literally saves lives.”

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

“Being allowed to practice with current technology allows us to fulfill our purpose in life, which is actually the goal that we have,” says Dr. Boyle. “It allows us to maintain our vision of the future of medicine locally and is consistent with the mission of our hospital and its affiliation with Dignity Health and CommonSpirit Health. It allows us to be successful.”

Parker extends her gratitude to all whose generosity helped to make the project possible.

“I want to thank our community for their generosity of this very important project that will touch thousands of people,” said Kimberly Parker, Executive Director of SNMH Foundation. “A successful surgery can give someone a new lease on life, can alleviate chronic pain issue like a knee or hip replacement, and will allow people to stay in our community for their care.”

Support Your Community Hospital

If you would like to support efforts to ensure that Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital continues to offer high level care, you can do so by making a donation to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. Donations can be made at supportsierranevada.org, calling SNMH Foundation at 530.477.9700, or by sending a donation to SNMH Foundation, PO BOX 1810, Grass Valley, CA 95945

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