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New surgical rooms, wound-care center at Vista East

Waukegan IL 2/2/12 The staff VistHospital held ribbcutting ceremony their new Same Day Surgery their Wound Care Center Thursday. Staff

Waukegan, IL 2/2/12 The staff of Vista Hospital held a ribbon cutting ceremony of their new Same Day Surgery and their Wound Care Center, Thursday. Staff gather in the hallways outside the newly opened same day surgery center. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 3, 2012 1:57AM

As officials at Vista Medical Center East prepared to cut the ribbon on 12 renovated pre- and post-surgical rooms Thursday, nurse Lynn Stilley pointed out the most noticeable differences.

“We didn’t have actual rooms before — we had bays, maybe six bays, with curtains and a few chairs,” Stilley said. “Now there are walls, so there’s privacy, and everyone gets their own TVs.”

“This is wonderful,” said fellow nurse Chris Fassbinder, who, like Stilley, has been at Vista for more than 25 years. “It’s so much better.”

Vista president and CEO Barbara J. Martin estimated that the renovations, which include not only the first-floor rooms but a new wound-care center on the lower level, cost around $3 million.

“These two new units mean a lot to Vista,” Martin told a gathering of hospital staff and local dignitaries. “They’re part of our ongoing commitment to the community, which includes Waukegan and Lake County.”

Martin added that 60 to 70 percent of Vista surgical patients start their experience as a scheduled visit through the same-day surgery wing. Under the new arrangement, arriving surgical patients can now access the building from a new public entrance off Sheridan Road just north of Glen Flora Avenue.

From there, they walk directly to a lower-level reception area and have access to changing rooms. Nurses then take them upstairs to one of the 12 new rooms, which are located directly adjacent to operating rooms.

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, was among those praising the upgrades at Vista East, telling the crowd that he had a recent visit that began through the emergency room.

“They couldn’t have treated me better,” said Link, adding that he did not reveal himself as a state official to ER staff. “The service has gotten immensely, immensely better, because we did have some problems there.”

Others in attendance included Waukegan Mayor Robert Sabonjian, 5th Ward Ald. Edie Newsome, 6th Ward Ald. Larry TenPas and North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham.

The renovations cover two floors on the far east end of the hospital. The wound-care center includes two hyperbaric chambers to promote faster healing of chronic wounds. 

Martin added that work will begin later this year on a $10 million renovation and expansion of Vista East’s second-floor maternal/obstetrics wing. The three-phase project, in which current OB services will be moved temporarily to another part of the building, should be complete by late 2012 or early 2013.

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