Hospitals Prepare For The Return Of Some Surgeons

Jay Weaver stood outside the Garden Park Medical Center's operating room. "This O.R. is right now cleaner than you'll ever see it," he said.

Weaver is the director of peri-operative services at Garden Park Medical Center. During the first eight days of the surgeons' walkout, his staff stocked and scrubbed virtually every inch of the O.R. He grabbed several belts hanging from a rack and said his nurses "completely cleaned and washed those out, disinfected them."

More than 40 people work in Garden Park's operating room and recovery areas. Tuesday they'll see their first patients in more than a week. Weaver said, "I was very happy that we'll be able to start doing our surgeries again, and taking care of our patients."

Hospital administrator Bill Peaks echoed that comment. "We're obviously happy to have our doctors back working and taking care of our community," Peaks said.

For the Garden Park staff, the last eight days have been pretty unusual. They usually handle about 20 surgeries a day. But since January 27, surgeons have been on leave, and the operating room has been empty. That meant the nurses weren't doing what they're trained to do. And the hospital wasn't been making the money that it counts on from surgery.

That's Jay Weaver's department. "Well it was a shock to me primarily from a managerial standpoint because I don't have revenue coming in. And let's face it, the only reason we're here and able to do what we do here is to keep revenue coming in."

The empty O.R. impacted Jay Weaver as a nurse, a manager, and a parent. Over the weekend, the parent was very cautious. He told his 16 and 25 year old children they couldn't go out, because hospitals couldn't handle potential wrecks. "You know, if something were to happen, we couldn't do it here," he said. "We would have had to ship them somewhere else. And there's always that possibility."

While his surgeons were out, Bill Peaks was very aware of that possibility. "We lucked out," the administrator said. "We didn't have any really bad cases apparently that didn't get taken care of apparently. And we're just grateful for that."

Weaver expects that possibility to be lessened Tuesday morning, when the surgeons with insurance return to his sparkling, fully stocked operating room.

While the surgeons were on leave, a few of the Garden Park operating room nurses took vacations. Others got caught up on some of the continuing education classes they need to take.