Golfers who participate in the 11th annual Partners for Life Invitational Golf Tournament next month will be ensuring that local patients do not have to drive great lengths to stay on par with their health needs.
The golf tournament, sponsored by the Sampson Regional Medical Center Foundation, will take place Thursday, April 24, at Coharie Country Club. Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to purchase a new Olympus 190 laparoscopic surgical tower for the hospital’s operating room, a boon to minimally invasive surgeries.
An upgrade to current equipment, the system will provide surgeons with high definition monitoring, image capturing features and the technology of Narrow Band Imaging that aids in the detection of abnormal tissue and vascular patterns. The system will initially be used for general surgery and OB-GYN laparoscopic procedures, but the universal system can also be used for orthopaedic and urological procedures.
“It will be used for laparoscopic surgeries, minimal invasive procedures such as laparoscopic gallbladders, laparoscopic appendectomies … ” said Jacquelyn Butler, director of Surgical Services at SRMC. “We’re very excited to be getting this tower, because we’ve recently taken on new OB-GYN surgeons and, with them joining our staff, we expect to see our volumes grow with laparoscopic surgeries.”
Before, a woman who had to have an abdominal hysterectomy would be out of work anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks with the surgical procedure requiring an 8-12 inch incision. The laparoscopic surgery is indeed minimal in its invasiveness, and allows for the surgery to be performed with three to five small incisions, each less than a quarter-inch long.
“Now (that same woman) can return to work in two to three weeks,” Butler said.
Along with the shorter recovery time, patients who undergo less invasive surgery are also less prone to infection. That laparoscopic procedure has not been offered on a regular basis locally, until a recent period of time during which hospital officials evaluated the equipment on a trial basis.
Butler said the laparoscopic tower will likely be purchased by the end of April, following the tournament, a short turnaround time. However, she pointed out the hospital staff has already done a great deal of evaluation.
“We have been evaluating this equipment for some time,” Butler said. “We’re still in that evaluation phase. We currently have laparoscopic towers that we have been using with our gallbladders and our laparoscopic appendectomies, but this is a new and improved version. We already have laparoscopic equipment, but this is high definition and newer equipment and the cameras we have will work with this.
“The beauty of it is we don’t have to step out and buy a new laparoscopic tower and then turn around and buy all new equipment,” she said.
Currently, there are about 20-30 patients per month that have such procedures at the hospital. That is expected to grow as more people know the service is officially available at the hospital, officials said.
“It will be used a lot for OB-GYN and general surgery, but it is very versatile in that it can be used for urology and orthopaedic surgery as well. So there are a lot of possibilities in purchasing this as we move forward,” Butler noted.
As with countless other hospital initiatives, the effort is designed to keep people here for their care.
“Women who want to have a laparoscopic procedure, if it’s a service we can’t offer here, then they have to go out of town and that’s another inconvenience for them,” said Amber Cava, vice president of marketing and community relations for the Sampson Regional Medical Center and its Foundation’s executive director.
“For them to be able to use their provider in the community, who they are already comfortable with and that they know and trust … it’s a convenience factor for them to have that procedure closer to home,” Cava continued.
And the hospital relies on the community to offer a helping hand through various events, and the Foundation tournament is one of them. The event has raised anywhere from $16,000-$24,000 each year for the past decade.
Among other projects, tournament proceeds have funded equipment for both the Emergency Department and a relocated Pediatrics Unit, as well as the addition of a Sexual Assault Nursing Examiner (SANE) room, which allows victims of sexual assault to be seen and treated by specially-trained staff. Last year’s tournament funded the purchase of new patient vanities, a renovation that is now under way following a design process.
“That has allowed us to provide some beautification and better space use in the rooms,” Cava pointed out.
Golfers will have an opportunity to participate in several contests, including a Hole-in-One contest for a chance to win a 2014 Chevy Cruze, sponsored by GO Automotive of Clinton, and Closest to the Pin and Hole-in-One prizes on all other par 3 holes. Five lucky players will be given a chance at the $100,000 Shout Out, where they can win big money for themselves and the foundation.
Registration deadline is April 10. The format is four-person captain’s choice, with the cost being $125 per person, $400 per team. The tournament can register up to 36 teams, or 144 players. Tee time will be at 9:30 a.m. April 24.
“Typically, we average 30 teams, or about 120 players,” Cava said. “We’d love to fill every team spot.”
There are also seven sponsorship levels available, from the $150 tee sponsors to the $5,000 platinum sponsorship. All golf packages include green fees, cart rental refreshments, awards lunch and an opportunity to participate in event contests and win prizes.
And it is for a great cause.
“We are proud to support equipment needs, such as this one, that improve care and provide state-of-the-art technology and service close to home,” Cava attested. “Nothing is more important than us being able to provide the level of services that our community needs right here in our own hospital. This certainly is another step in that direction.”
“I think this is just continuing what we’ve already started,” said Katie Brick, vice president of Clinical Operations, “keeping our community in the community for care and services. We’re constantly trying to improve and ensure that you’re getting the highest quality care here at Sampson Regional just as you would any other organization outside the community.”
Butler agreed that the new equipment would be a huge benefit to Sampson Regional, and those who gave their time and money toward the golf tournament were providing a much-needed assist in making that happen.
“The participants in the golf tournament, by participating, they’re helping us save lives every day,” Butler attested.
For all tournament details or to register, visit www.SampsonRMC.org/GolfTournament. For more information, contact the Foundation office at 910-596-5422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.