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Lawrence General Opens Region’s Most Modern Surgery Center

Surgeons, hospital staff and community and business leaders will be on hand on April 13, to observe and celebrate the historic opening of the Merrimack Valley’s most modern surgical center. The Santagati Center for surgery—named in honor of benefactors Marilyn and Richard Santagati—is five times the size of the current surgical service, which was built in the 1960’s. The center boasts seven technology-rich operating rooms, more space and privacy in the pre- and post-surgical patient areas, an advanced and brand new Sterile Processing Department that supplies the operating rooms with equipment and supplies, and a spacious and welcoming new family waiting area (due to be completed in June).

Of special note is the region’s only hybrid operating room, where Lawrence General can now afford surgeons more clinical flexibility during surgery. The room is equipped with advanced imaging technology that allows surgeons to move from minimally invasive to open surgical procedures in real time, without moving the patient. This new capability will allow specialty surgeons to perform procedures that weren’t possible in the Merrimack Valley prior to the opening of the Santagati Center.

“We’re excited that our excellent surgeons and surgical staff will now have the sophisticated technology and support to provide the kinds of advanced surgeries not previously available north of Boston.” comments Dianne Anderson, RN, president and CEO at Lawrence General. “Lawrence General’s Santagati Center for surgery offers our region advanced care that is more efficient, safer and closer to home.”

“While this may appear to be a bricks and mortar project at first glance, it is truly an investment in the talents of the medical personnel who serve the patients of this region,” says Richard Santagati, board chair emeritus and lead donor to the campaign for the project. “To retain the best medical professionals to care for our family and friends in this region, we must give them the space and tools they need to their life-saving work.”

The new center, along with complete renovation of the hospital’s intensive care unit and other adult inpatient units, provides the resources that allow more patients in Northeastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire to access state of the art medical care, without having to travel into Boston.

“Even though Boston is close geographically, most patients do not need to endure the expense and inconvenience of going to academic medical centers. They can receive as good or better care at local medical centers like Lawrence General,” adds Anderson. “Our patients are usually attended by their surgeons while they are in the hospital, and in follow up after discharge, as well. Community hospitals foster the kinds of care provider/patient relationships that last years and even generations within families.”

The 43,000 square foot surgery center is a $56 million dollar investment, the single largest capital project in the hospital’s 140-year history, and the largest private investment in health care in Lawrence since the hospital opened its new Emergency Center in 2006.

The hospital’s Surgical Day Care unit moved into newly renovated space adjacent to the new building  in mid-March. Sterile Processing moved into its news constructed space on April 8-10. The sequential, highly choreographed move of the operating rooms will commence on April 24 and proceed over several days, as ORs are individually shut down in the old space and brought on line  in the new building. Hospital officials expect to complete construction on Pre Admission Testing and the Family Welcome and Waiting in June.

The Santagati Center took just shy of two years to complete, from the ground breaking to opening, and came in on time and on budget. 

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