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Operating room plans has helped Baystate Franklin Medical Center recruit doctors

  • Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz

    Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz

    Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz

    Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Hospital staff get the operating room at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center ready for the next case Tuesday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — The promise of newer, larger operating rooms at Baystate Franklin Medical Center has helped the hospital overcome its recent struggle to recruit physicians, according to president Chuck Gijanto.

The $26 million operating room construction project — which hospital officials said will begin this summer and is scheduled to be completed in 2016 — will give surgeons the room they need to work effectively, said Gijanto.

After months of struggling to bring specialists to this rural community, the hospital has seen a turnaround in the past three months, he said. Six physicians, in full-time and part-time roles, have either signed contracts or made verbal agreements to work here, he said.

“When we were trying to recruit doctors and then showing them the workspace they would be in ... we weren’t competitive,” said Gijanto. “We didn’t have anything to demonstrate to them that we were looking forward.

“The minute we were able to start showing some basic renderings of this ... you can see their eyes light up,” he said. “They’re going to be in at the beginning of something really new and cool.”

A new 57,000-square-foot facility on the corner of Beacon and North street will include four operating rooms, ranging in size from 550 to 720 square feet. It will also feature new rooms for patients to stay in before and after surgery, with wall dividers instead of the current curtains that separate the rooms.

The existing operating rooms, which were built 40 years ago and range from 325 to 550 square feet, will be converted into rooms for other hospital procedures.

Gijanto said those rooms were built in a time when they required only an operating room table, anesthesia machine and other manual equipment used by medical staff. Since that time, the equipment needed to do a procedure has “grown geometrically” and computers take up what had once been ample breathing room.

That’s why the hospital elected to give one of its new operating rooms a spacious 720 square-foot space. Officials don’t know what equipment, or even robots, may be necessary for surgeries in the future.

“What we didn’t want to do is create boxes so small that while they may work today, they might not work tomorrow,” said Gijanto.

The Baystate Health Board of Trustees signed off on the plan last month and Gijanto expects the state Department of Public Health to do the same this spring. He said that the health system has included the state in its planning discussions since last year.

The doctors who will be working in the new space will likely include the six who recently signed on or made a commitment. They include positions that the hospital has struggled to fill, including urologists, neurologists and gastroenterologists.

Construction on the new facility, designed by Steffian Bradley Architects, is scheduled to be completed by spring 2016. Hospital officials say that they are proud of the building’s exterior face, which is modeled after other architecture in town.

It will be connected by a corridor to the existing operating facility, which will be refurbished by fall 2016. Operating rooms are being turned into suites for endoscopy (surgeries where doctors look inside the body) with one specifically for bronchoscopy, the inside look at a patient’s lungs. Those procedures do not require as much room as major operations, so the current rooms will provide adequate space, said officials.

Another room will be turned into one with a “negative airflow.” It will be used for procedures involving infectious diseases, to keep the airborne illnesses from spreading.

Once the construction and renovation is complete, the hospital may move over some of its other medical services into a vacant space on the ground floor of the new facility.

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com 413-772-0261, ext. 264, or on Twitter @RecorderShores

To bad someone keeps deleting my comments!!! I must be striking a nerve and I know who that person is. the truth is embarrassing isn't it? Next time do your JOB and I won't have to keep harping on the same subject until I open someones eyes.

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