The staff at Central Mississippi Medical Center (CMMC) in Jackson is staying busy these days.
The hospital recently began an upgrade to the Robert R. Smith, M.D., Gamma Knife Center. And it is in the preparing to unveil its new-and-improved Women’s Pavilion this month.
In March 2001, CMMC acquired Mississippi’s first and only Leksell Gamma Knife. The technology allows for more precise and exact treatment of brain tumors and neurological disorders through stereotactic radiosurgery.
The technology requires the use of 201 beams of cobalt radiation. The knife’s cobalt supply must be replenished over time. Since CMMC’s gamma knife was due a cobalt re-supply, and Elektra, the technology’s maker, had made available an upgraded machine, the Leksell Gamma Knife PERFEXION, the hospital decided the time was right to move to the upgraded knife.
The renovations to the Robert R. Smith, M.D., Gamma Knife Center are slated to begin latter this month, and will require the center to close through the entire month of September. The roof will be raised to allow for the insertion of the new cobalt radiation source. Installation of the new PERFEXION knife, which costs in the $3 million-$3.5 million range, will follow.
CMMC is expecting to have the center reopened and operating with the upgraded gamma knife in October 2007.
According to CMMC, it will be one of the first hospitals in the nation to offer PERFEXION. According to Elektra, the primary improvement provided by the new gamma knife is a reduction of radiation exposure during treatment. This is achieved by an automatic delivery of the radiation dose using a robotic couch and automated collimator movement that offers superior shielding of at-risk organs.
Patients can expect increased comfort, reduced treatment time — a plus for both patient and physician — and a more accurate treatment. It also will treat conditions that the former knife could not.
Steven Zachow, M.D., radiation oncologist and director of the Robert R. Smith, M.D., Gamma Knife Center, says, “Previously, the gamma knife would only allow physicians to treat areas of the brain only. The Leksell Gamma Knife PERFEXION will allow physicians to treat the brain, neck and cervical spine.”
In addition, PERFEXION will provide increased safety for both patients and operators, including a decreased need to change helmets due to the new collimator.
The Robert R. Smith, M.D., Gamma Knife Center averages 125-150 patients annually who come from as far away as Louisiana and Florida. Since PERFEXION has capabilities to treat more ailments, CMMC is expecting that patient load to increase.
On August 25, CMMC will host “Enlighten, Embrace, Empower — A Celebration of Women’s Health.” The free event will feature celebrity designer/author Laurie Hickson-Smith and comedienne, healthcare humorist and TV/radio personality Diana Jordan as well as breakout sessions on numerous topics of interest to women such as preventing cervical cancer and advances in the treatment of migraines, and area vendors of maternity clothing, baby furniture and hobby suppliers, among others, will be on hand with their wares.
The program, which will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., will also offer tours of CMMC’s Women’s Pavilion, which is currently undergoing a major facelift. Located on the third floor of CMMC, the renovations are expected to cost $1.5 million and should be 100% complete by the end of September.
“I believe I speak for CMMC’s administration, physicians and staff members when I say that we are thrilled to be able to provide healthcare to every woman no matter what her stage of life through the comprehensive services offered by the Women’s Pavilion at CMMC,” said Carol McCullough, CMMC’s chief nursing officer.
At press time, CMMC had completed half of the renovations to its labor and delivery unit. The project entails new flooring, casework, paint, and window treatments to the rooms, nurses’ stations, corridors and public areas.
A color scheme of sage green and lavender is continued throughout the flooring, wallpaper and linens. Flat screen televisions, etched glass mirrors and curved shower rods have also been added, all aimed at giving the facility a resort-like feel.
Approximately a year-and-a-half ago, CMMC began renovations on its post partum and gynecological rooms. This project took approximately a year to complete.
The facility offers prenatal testing, education such as child birth classes, newborn care, neonatal intensive care, newborn outpatient assessment, lactation consultation, pre- and post-operative care for gynecological surgery patients, labor and delivery services and nutritional counseling.
The labor and delivery unit encompasses eight labor and delivery rooms, two antenatal rooms and three surgery rooms and post-anesthesia care. The unit, counting nurses and ancillary personnel, employs a staff of 50.
The post partum and gynecological units house 16 beds per unit. The total staff numbers 30.
The newborn nursery can accommodate 20 babies, while the neonatal intensive care unit has the capacity for 15 babies. Thirty-five nurses and ancillary personnel are employed here.
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at email@example.com.