East Tennessee Children’s Hospital debuts new surgical center

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Patients at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital have a new place to go for surgical procedures. The new surgery center opened to patients Monday.

Trinity Terry, 16, was getting ready for her procedure Monday morning.

“I’ve been nauseous for about five months now and nothing has helped, so we’re hoping to see if there’s anything in there,” she said.

She has been to ETCH before, but it was her first time in the surgical center.  She was one of the first patients to be treated there.

“This place feels like a kid center and I feel a lot better because not only is it new but it doesn’t have that medical smell yet,” she said.

It is all about making the young patients and their families feel welcome right from the start.

“If we can have the child less anxious, the family less anxious, we have a healing process that starts from being until end,” said Barbara Barr, Director of Surgical Services.

One thing they felt was important was to fill the place with bright colors and artwork, even down to the smaller details like jokes on couch cushions.

“I think that the best part is how we have improved communication and standardized safe patient care,” Barr said.

They have done that by streamlining the process for patients and medical teams. Before, patients would have to travel to different floors for surgery and post-op. Now it is all together.

“They see the same nurse in the very beginning, and they see the nurse at the end. So they don’t have to talk to or repeat a lot of unnecessary things. It instills security and safety and understanding of that patient,” Barr said.

Much larger operating rooms are also a plus for the staff. They also added dental suites at the hospital making it the only hospital in Knoxville with individual rooms for patients getting dental surgery procedures.

In the waiting room there are ways to pass the time and ease the mind. For patients like Trinity, all that makes a stressful event a little easier to handle.

“I think it’s a very friendly environment,” she said.

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