First Surgery Performed Using Innovative da Vinci Robot

Posted on : 04-30-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News

Pictured is the innovative da Vinci Surgical System known as the “da Vinci robot.”

Recently, New Lenox resident Lisa Berger was the first patient to benefit from having surgery using the state-of-the-art da Vinci® Surgical System at Silver Cross Hospital. Berger’s urologist Dr. Thai Nguyen, was the first physician to use the da Vinci robot at Silver Cross as he performed Berger’s pyeloplasty procedure, which reconstructed her blocked kidney.

Berger suffered for 20 years with kidney issues. Her left kidney would hold urine and as a result kidney stones developed leaving Berger in great pain for years. Under the care of Dr. Nguyen, it was determined that a defect existed in her left kidney. Berger’s ureter, the tube draining urine from the kidney into the bladder, was very narrow where it connected to the kidney. The resulting blockage was causing serious damage to her kidney.

New Lenox residents Terry Berger and Lisa Berger pose with Dr. Thai Nguyen, with Advanced Urology Associates, prior to Lisa’s surgery which was the first one using the state-of-the-art da Vinci Surgical System at Silver Cross Hospital.

Using the innovative da Vinci robot, Dr. Nguyen made 4 tiny incisions in Berger’s abdomen then inserted long, delicate instruments that enabled him to remove half an inch of the defective narrow area and re-attach the healthy tubing to the kidney.

The da Vinci Si™ Surgical System is the most advanced robotic-assisted surgical technology available.  The da Vinci system combines a surgeon’s skill with precision technology to provide patients with the newest minimally invasive option for hysterectomies, prostatectomies and other procedures.  Compared to traditional open surgeries, patients benefit from smaller incisions, minimal bleeding, shorter hospital stays and faster, less painful recoveries.
“I am amazed how small my incisions are especially after undergoing such a complex surgery,” said 45 year-old Lisa Berger. “I feel so special to have met Dr. Nguyen and fortunate to benefit from his expertise to perform surgeries using the da Vinci robot. He is so knowledgeable, and my husband and I appreciate how he thoroughly explained my procedure and answered all of our questions prior to the surgery.

As a result of this minimally invasive surgery, Berger had a short hospital stay and was home in two days. “The nursing care I received at Silver Cross was very good. The nurses were so kind and continuously took time to check on me to ask how I was doing,” said Berger. “Also the new hospital is beautiful. I truly felt like I was staying in a 5-star hotel! I am so proud that this wonderful hospital with such high quality medical care and state-of-the-art technology is located in my community.”
Dr. Thai Nguyen, with Advanced Urology Associates, says the da Vinci robot helps surgeons see better and operate with superior precision.  “The robot allows me a magnified, 3-dimensional view of the operative field which is unmatched by traditional open surgery or conventional laparoscopy. The robotically-assisted instruments give me unparalleled dexterity and precision, which are essential to achieving excellent outcomes during complicated minimally-invasive procedures.”

He continues, “I am very pleased with the outcome of Lisa’s surgery. With the da Vinci robot, we were able to repair her kidney with minimal bleeding, and her recovery was much shorter than what it would have been had we performed the surgery using the traditional flank incision, a very painful, long incision which often involves the removal of a rib.”

Robot Name Selected
Recently Silver Cross announced the “Name the Robot” contest winner. The new name for the $2 million, state-of-the-art surgical system at Silver Cross Hospital, is Mia—minimally invasive approach.  Tinley Park resident Suzanne Mitchell submitted the name during the community Housewarming Celebration for the new Hospital in February.  Mitchell along with more than 8,500 area residents had an opportunity to see Silver Cross’s new da Vinci Surgical System before offering their name recommendations.

Mitchell submitted “Mia”, which she says is an acronym for minimally invasive approach.  “I had heard that Silver Cross was going to be offering more minimally invasive surgery at the new hospital so I immediately thought of the name after seeing the robot,” says Suzanne Mitchell.  “The hospital is so beautiful and this new equipment will be such a benefit for patients.” The Silver Cross Procedural Care Unit Staff chose the name after sorting through thousands of submissions. 

Free Lecture
Join Dr. Thai Nguyen, urologist with Advanced Urology, for a lecture about Prostate Cancer Options & Treatments on Wednesday, May 9 from 6  to 7 p.m. at the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center 1, in Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd, New Lenox. He will discuss how robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci surgery system can treat prostate cancer. FREE. To register, call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325) or click here.

Posted on : 04-29-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News, Top 100 Hospitals

Find Your Child’s Voice

Posted on : 04-26-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News, Rehabilitation

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital offers free screenings in May

Since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month each May to raise public awareness of speech and language disorders that affect 14 million Americans.

Speech and language disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement. An individual may be born with a speech or language disorder, or it may be caused by accidental injury or illness.

“Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped,” says Kris Peters, Senior Speech Pathologist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital. “Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, we can teach people with speech and language problems strategies to help them cope. People may not fully regain their capacity to speak and understand, but a speech-language pathologist can help them live and communicate more independently.”

Free Screenings
In honor of Better Speech and Hearing Month, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital will offer free 15 minute pediatric speech and language screenings throughout the month of May.  Call (815) 300-7110 and mention “SPEECH” to make an appointment.

Silver Cross gives $29 million in charity care & help

Posted on : 04-25-2012 | By : tsimons | In : News

Pictured are Gwen Ulmer, Community Relations Coordinator at Silver Cross Hospital; Betty Washington Vice President for the Silver Cross Health Community Commission; Lou Ann Johnson, President of the Joliet Chapter of National Hookup of Black Women; Geraldine Littlepage, 1st Vice President of the National Hookup of Black Women accepting a $9,000 grant from the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission for the National Hookup of Black Women –Joliet Family Empowerment program.

According a recent report, in 2011 Silver Cross Hospital provided nearly $29 million in community benefit.  Over $8 million was in straight charity care in which Silver Cross does not expect payment from patients.  An additional $13.4 million in uncompensated services was given through the government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs.   Plus, nearly half of all patients treated in the Silver Cross Emergency Department in 2011 were uninsured or on public aid.

“Silver Cross has shown yet again that it is committed to caring for everyone in our community, regardless of whether or not a person can afford to pay for it,” said Margie Woods, Chairperson of the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission—a not-for-profit group of local leaders devoted to improving access to healthcare, workforce development and redevelopment of Silver Cross Hospital’s eastside Joliet campus.

Pledge to Provide Free Care
In 2008, the Hospital pledged to provide at least $4 million a year for ten years in charity care to serve the poor and uninsured in Will County.  This was the first $40 million charity commitment made by any hospital in the State of Illinois.  In the past four years, Silver Cross has already given out almost $29.8 million in free care to Will County patients.   That number reflects the actual cost of health care provided free of charge to patients. It does not include shortfalls in payments from the state’s Medicaid program for the poor or the Medicare program for seniors and disabled citizens.  These programs only cover a fraction of Silver Cross Hospital’s cost for treating patients.

Silver Cross provides financial assistance to patients who maintain a household income up to 200% above the Federal Poverty Level.  In addition, the hospital provides a 40% discount off of charges to all uninsured patients.  Applications for assistance are available by contacting the Patients Accounts Department at (815) 300-7087 or via email at  English and Spanish speaking financial counselors are available.

“We want to make sure everyone in our community has access to quality health care regardless of a patient’s income or insurance status,” said Paul Pawlak, President and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital.  “As a not-for-profit health care provider, we take our mission seriously and are committed to providing quality care to all our patients and the community.”

Subsidized Services, Screenings and Scholarships
In addition to charity care and government-sponsored indigent care, Silver Cross gave more than $7 million in other community benefit last year which included free and subsidized health services, programs and screenings to at least 10,800 people in Will County. 

“More than 1,400 people took advantage of free or discounted heart screenings, mammograms, and other important prevention and diagnostic tests last year,” said Pawlak. “By partnering with local churches, community centers and schools, we were able to get out to the people who are most at risk for chronic and debilitating diseases.”

Silver Cross is also helping to save lives serving as the resource hospital for the area’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system.  Last year Silver Cross gave nearly $500,000 to provide paramedic training, continuing education, and monitoring of ambulance services in Will and Grundy counties. 

In addition to providing funding to educate first-responders, through the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, the Hospital also awarded $244,350 is healthcare-related scholarships, workforce development grants and quality of life initiatives.  Over 125 individuals associated with local organizations such as Joliet Community Action Network’s Male Mentoring Program, NAACP, and the Harvey Brooks Foundation were beneficiaries of Silver Cross’ investment in the community.

Joliet resident Sara Vargas who is attending Illinois State University was one of five students who received a Dr. Daniel Gutierrez Scholarship from the Hispanic/Latino Coalition of Will and Grundy Counties made possible by a grant from Silver Cross.

“Receiving this scholarship was such a nice surprise because it really has helped me afford to attend college,” said Vargas who is studying political science.  “Since both of my parents did not go to college or finish high school, I’m really excited to be the first generation in my family to attend university.”

Silver Cross is also helping to increase the quality of life in Will County by partnering with the National Hook-up of Black Women to promote literacy.  The Hospital donated funding, furniture, computers and held book drives to establish two Reading Rooms on the eastside of Joliet.  At the Reading Room, children and parents are able to swap, borrow or take a book to keep in their own personal libraries. 

“It has been proven that reading is the foundation to all future success,” said Lou Ann Johnson, President of Joliet’s National Hook-Up of Black Women. “Unfortunately children who fall behind at an early age never make up the educational gap and illiteracy limits their future employment options. The NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Rooms provide children in daycare through grade school an opportunity to get books and enjoy the adventures of reading, while increasing their literacy level.”

 “Through our donation to the Reading Room, we are ensuring healthier lifestyles for the residents in the communities we serve,” said Pawlak. “Increasing children’s literacy levels empowers them to make better life choices related to nutrition, family and career goals.”

A grant to fight…diabetes

Posted on : 04-24-2012 | By : tsimons | In : News

The Silver Cross Diabetes Center was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the McKesson Foundation to expand the Center’s Diabetes Nutrition Education Program. The purpose of the grant is to target the epidemic of diabetes and obesity by teaching healthy nutrition to patients and their families. “The program will include meal preparation with low fat cooking techniques, as well as calorie control and portion control and of course exercise,” said Patsy Harris, RN, Silver Cross Diabetes Center Program Manager.

Through this grant the Silver Cross Diabetes Center will continue its mission to raise awareness to how diabetes is a complex, serious and increasingly common disease affecting more than 26 million children and adults in the United States. There are an additional 79 million Americans who are at high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.“Many patients learn for the first time that they have diabetes while in the hospital,” says Harris. “Last year, 24 percent of our inpatients had a primary or secondary diagnosis of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. By diagnosing diabetes early, we can help our patients manage the disease and keep them out of the hospital.”

Diabetes is a silent disease and if left untreated can harm your eyes, heart, nerves and kidneys just by having too much sugar in the bloodstream.  The risk factors for diabetes increase with age and weight gain.  Diabetes is more common in African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.  Those who are at risk have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes or have delivered a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth.  Most people with diabetes do not notice any symptoms.  However, if you are constantly thirsty, urinate frequently or lose weight without trying, you should see a physician. “By receiving this grant, we hope we can assist our patients to have a fulfilling healthier and active lifestyle,” said Harris.

Want to learn more? For more information, call (815) 300-5990 or click here.

Giant Public Sale at Former Silver Cross

Posted on : 04-24-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Uncategorized

A two-day public sale is scheduled to liquidate thousands of non-medical items from the former Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet. Everything must go due to their relocation, including

  • furniture
  • file cabinets
  • office chairs
  • recliners
  • sleeper sofas
  • kitchen equipment
  • refrigerators
  • ice machines
  • freezers
  • flat screen televisions
  • artwork and much more!

The sale will be held on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 in the Francis Pavilion of the old Silver Cross Hospital site located at 1200 Maple Road, Joliet, IL. Sale hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Items will be sold cash and carry only and must be removed at the time of payment.

Centurion Service Group, LLC, the world’s largest medical equipment auction house, on behalf of the Silver Cross Hospital will be hosting this two-day sale.

“We have thousands of items for sale at prices that are really low. Our object is to clean out the building, not to maximize profit, so bring a big truck and your wallet, because it’s cash and carry and we don’t hold the merchandise,” said Erik Tivin, CEO, Centurion Service Group, LLC.

Thank you to our volunteers!

Posted on : 04-21-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Business Sponsors, Celebration of Health, Top 100 Hospitals

Take care of mom this May

Posted on : 04-20-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips, I Matter Benefits, Mammography

“broken heart” saved by Silver Cross

Posted on : 04-19-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Heart Health, News

Members of the Silver Cross Medical Team are gathered with patient, Dianne D’Andrea, who saved her life as a result of their medical expertise and ability to administer care quickly due to the department adjacencies in Silver Cross Hospital’s newly designed Procedural Care Unit. Pictured are Orland Park resident Dianne D’Andrea (center) with: Front row- Jen Stevensen, RT; Ish Ahmad OR RN; Andrea Hartong, OR RN; Natalie Stanger, OR RN; Kathy Pechotta, PACU RN. Back Row- Grace Connor, SPPR RN; MaryAnn Hutin, OR RN; John Lindenmulder, OR RN; Mary Egan, IPPR RN; Sheila Buroff, IPPR RN; Pat Kroesch, RN, OR Manager; and Dr. Sheldon Cin, Anesthesiologist.

Orland Park resident Dianne D’Andrea suffered for years with pain in her right knee, so she decided to have total knee replacement surgery at the new Silver Cross Hospital. Little did she know the newly designed Procedural Care Unit (PCU), would aid in saving her life. The PCU is a new unit that consolidates all the traditional procedural areas found in hospitals including surgery, endoscopy, interventional cardiology/radiology.  The unit was designed to place clinical expertise and equipment with dedicated support services on one integrated “platform” to enhance the delivery of quality care to patients.

To begin her preparation for knee surgery D’Andrea was escorted into a pre-procedural room in Surgery Pre/Post Recovery (SPPR) which is immediately adjacent to the operating rooms (OR) suites on the PCU.  Prior to any surgical procedure, patients are interviewed by nursing and anesthesia staff, and are seen by their surgeon one last time before going to the OR.  Once in the OR, as D’Andrea began to receive anesthesia, she developed ventricular tachycardia (V-tach) a fast, irregular heart rhythm that can be fatal. As the V-tach occurred, the heart monitor alarm sounded and her orthopedic surgeon Anuj Puppala, M.D., with Hinsdale Orthopedics, determined she did not have a pulse.  He instantly began heart compressions- the time noted at 8:26 a.m. – and the surgical staff called a Code Blue. At the same time, cardiologist John Dongas, M.D., with Heartland Cardiovascular, was prepping his patient in the nearby interventional cardiology suite.  Dr. Dongas is an electrophysiologist who specializes in treating abnormal heart rhythms.  He heard the Code Blue and decided to walk down the hall to the OR to see if he could help, and with his assistance D’Andrea was successfully resuscitated.

At 8:48 a.m., just 22 minutes after the Code Blue was called, D’Andrea was urgently transferred to the Cardiac Cath Lab for a diagnostic heart catheterization to see if she had blockages that may have caused her cardiac arrest in the OR.  Dr. Abdul Sankari, an interventional cardiologist and partner of Dr. Dongas, performed the procedure that indicated her vessels were all clear of any blockages.  However, the bottom chamber of her heart was severely compromised resembling what is known as “tako-tsubo”, indicating she was suffering from “Broken Heart Syndrome”. Also known as “takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, Broken Heart Syndrome is a temporary heart condition brought on by highly stressful situations. In Japanese, “tako-tsubo” means “fishing pot for trapping an octopus,” and the heart of a patient with this clinical situation resembles this shape. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack. These symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s response to a rush of stress hormones.

The nurses who interviewed D’Andrea in SPPR  prior to her procedure all agreed in retrospect that she was extremely nervous, which would explain a state of high emotional stress that could have caused her clinical presentation of “broken heart syndrome”.  “In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of the heart functions normally or with even more vigorous contractions,” said John Dongas, M.D., cardiologist on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “In Dianne’s case, her heart was portraying all the signs of “broken heart syndrome”, so it was critical that the appropriate medical team assemble as fast as possible. In addition to the expertise of our staff, I believe Dianne’s life was saved because these key medical professionals were able to come together more quickly than ever before due to the fact that the PCU has brought all our areas adjacent and in close proximity to one another.” D’Andrea was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at 9:13am, less than one hour after her cardiac arrest in the OR and after a couple days was discharged home.

“It was amazing to witness our esteemed healthcare team as they provided multi-disciplinary care to Dianne.  We had specifically designed the  Procedural Care Unit to be an environment with the clinical expertise and equipment readily available when needed to care for critically ill patients and this situation confirmed it was the right thing to do.  We never imagined we’d know this so soon after our move, but are pleased Dianne was the beneficiary of our vision,” said Marybeth Antone, Administrative Director of Surgery and Cardiology.

“I am forever grateful to all the physicians, nurses and others who quickly reacted to save my life,” said 56-year-old Dianne D’Andrea. “The high quality care I received from everyone was just wonderful, and I am so relieved that I chose to have my surgery at Silver Cross Hospital.” Dandrea is still determined to have her knee fixed and has scheduled her knee surgery for this spring. “I have such peace of mind knowing that I will once again be in such capable hands with all the staff at Silver Cross Hospital”.

Serving others, Silver Cross style

Posted on : 04-18-2012 | By : tsimons | In : News

Silver Cross Hospital Surgical Team Nurses: John Lindemulder, Darlene Fabek and Kim Lee along with surgeon Mark Danielson, M.D., (not pictured) volunteered on a 9-day medical mission trip to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Some people volunteer in their community or another part of the country, but a few area medical professionals felt it was time to help others by venturing to South America to the tropical land of Bolivia. Silver Cross Hospital Surgical Nurses John Lindemulder, R.N.; Darlene Fabek, R.N.; and Kim Lee, R.N.; along with Mark Danielson, M.D., surgeon on staff at Silver Cross; and Fred Alexander, M.D., infectious disease physician on staff at Silver Cross; decided to lend their medical expertise and participate in an 9-day medical mission to Santa Cruz, which is located in eastern Bolivia.

Dr. Alexander’s brother-in-law, Phil, is a missionary in Bolivia and has a relationship with the people who operate the Medical Clinic in Santa Cruz. Knowing that Dr. Danielson has participated in other medical mission trips throughout the globe, Dr. Alexander invited him on this trip to Bolivia. “I was especially excited to attend the Santa Cruz trip since we were going to perform surgeries,” said Mark Danielson, M.D., general surgeon with Surgical Consultants of Joliet.

Within 5 days, Danielson and his team of surgical nurses performed 28 surgeries including laparoscopic gall bladder surgeries, hernia surgeries and colostomy takedown surgeries. Their patients ranged in age from 20 to 60 years old. Dr. Alexander’s wife Beth, who is a pediatrician, translated for Dr. Danielson’s surgical team. “Unlike the U.S. where a patient may wait 2 weeks to have surgery, the Bolivian patients we treated suffered with gall bladder or hernia pain for 3 to 4 years before having their surgery with us,” said Dr. Danielson. “This mission trip was so rewarding because we were able to help people who suffered in great pain for so long.”

 In addition, Dr. Alexander and his team of nurses and other medical professionals, drove one to two hours each day to remote locations outside the Santa Cruz area. They administered general medical care to area residents, who had no funds to pay for healthcare treatments. Throughout their stay, they cared for 750 patients who suffered from a variety of conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, bronchitis, scabies and soft tissue infections.

 After a medical mission trip, not only are the patients’ health changed for the better, the missionaries are surprisingly changed also, but on a different level. “It was overwhelming emotionally to see the patients’ spirits lifted so much after they received modern medical treatments,” said Dr. Danielson.  “Further it is inspiring to me on a personal level to witness the amazing spirit of cooperation amongst all the medical staff and see the fantastic work they perform with primitive medical supplies,” said Dr. Danielson.This was the fourth mission trip for Dr. Alexander who encourages others to participate. He says, “Not only do you help people in great need during missionary work, it also has been so rewarding personally to be exposed to a different culture with new customs.”

A total of 10 healthcare professionals went on the trip from January 31 through February 8, 2012.The group mission trip was co-sponsored by Cup of Cold Water Ministries located in Newark, IL., and MVP Bolivia who arranged the flight and lodging logistics of the trip for the medical team; however the medical team paid for their trips with their own money.