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Forging a Focus on Surgery

CalvertHealth Growing to Meet Community Needs

With the $51-million expansion project nearing completion, CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC) is moving forward with plans to expand its surgical services – investing in new technology like the SAVI SCOUT® surgical guidance system and recruiting additional specialists – to provide local residents with enhanced access to a growing range of surgical options.

A key step was the recruitment of renowned breast surgical oncologist Dr. Theodore Tsangaris, who is serving as chief medical officer and cancer program director at Calvert. Dr. Tsangaris has extensive experience at the region’s top tertiary hospitals and is bringing that expertise to the development of the surgical service line at CalvertHealth.

“I want all local residents to choose CalvertHealth with confidence for their surgical care,” said Dr. Tsangaris. “If the procedure is highly complex and should be performed in a tertiary facility, we will help connect that patient with the right physician for their needs.”

He went on to add, “We do a great job with what we do here. I’m very impressed with the quality of care we provide. I’ve been at centers where the acuity is higher but the care isn’t any better than what we offer.”

Developing Essential Resources

At the top of the list is recruiting more specialists, said Dr. Tsangaris. “We know what we need and we’ve ramped up our efforts in that area.” CalvertHealth completes a physician needs assessment every three years to identify where more clinicians are needed. This helps in recruitment efforts and planning.

Recruitment is definitely a major part of the medical center’s multifaceted strategy to grow its surgical services. For his part, Dr. Tsangaris is confident about the appeal of CalvertHealth to surgical candidates. “To start with, this is a great hospital and it’s well run. Number two, surgeons want to operate in a place where the technology allows them to practice their craft.”

He went on to add, “And this is a growing area. So, they are going to be busy and they will have the opportunity for some academic affiliations. I think that would be very attractive to someone coming out of training. It was very attractive to someone who had been practicing for a while (referring to himself).”

Reputation was certainly a factor in the decision by Dr. Ervind Bhogte to come here. After completing his residency in general surgery and fellowship in surgical critical care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, he joined the active staff at CalvertHealth in 2012.

“I appreciate working at CalvertHealth because quality and safety are the top priority here,” said Dr. Bhogte. “The staff and providers are all very caring and concerned for every patient.”

The newest addition to the surgical team at CalvertHealth is boardcertified vascular surgeon Dr. Joseph C. Wuamett, who came on board in May. He brings broad-based experience in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of vascular issues including aortic aneurysms, varicose veins, peripheral vascular disease, dialysis access and chronic wounds.

Dr. Wuamett said he found CalvertHealth’s commitment to serving community needs very appealing. “There is a clear effort to increase access to reliable, high quality health care close to home,” he said. “I am excited to join a growing team of surgeons at CalvertHealth that is only going to make Calvert County an even better place to live.”

At present, CalvertHealth has 26 surgeons on its active medical staff encompassing many different specialties. For a complete listing, go to CalvertHealth Medicine.org. They are assisted by a special team of nurses and technicians who are experienced, highly trained professionals with extensive knowledge in surgical care.

Strong Reputation for Safety

Plastic surgeon Dr. Wilfred Ehrmantraut, Jr. said he believes the medical center’s record for quality and safety inspires trust and confidence in its surgical services. “CalvertHealth is consistently recognized by the state of Maryland and ranks in the upper percentile in quality care and safety metrics,” said Dr. Ehrmantraut, who is chief of the medical staff.

Of particular note, said CalvertHealth Vice President for Clinical Services Diane Couchman, MBA, BSN, RN is its extremely low surgical infection rate. In 2019, there were six infections reported out of 3,708 surgeries.

Couchman went on to add, “Many surgical procedures have been improved through new technology, new approaches and new medications.”

According to Couchman, the majority of minimally invasive spine surgery at CHMC is performed using a microscope, which results in incisions the size of a dime and a more comfortable recovery. “We’re also using TruMatch™technology for more total knee replacement cases. This process contributes to better alignment of the knee and reduces surgical time,” she said.

Additionally, CalvertHealth has installed 4K video monitors in its operating rooms, allowing the surgeons to see blood vessels, tissue and organs better than ever before. “We also have brand new digital ureteroscopes, which provide better visualization for cystoscopy procedures,” she said. “This enables the urologist to be more efficient because they can see better.

“Another advance is the MyoSure® device, which allows a gynecologist to remove uterine fibroids and polyps without having to remove the uterus,” said Couchman. “Newer medications are helping us provide much better pain control after surgery and reduce blood loss during surgery.”

Advances on the Horizon

More recently, CHMC has implemented the SAVI SCOUT® surgical guidance system, which uses radar technology to mark a tumor’s location inside of the breast instead of inserting a wire. This innovative technology guides the surgeon to precisely target the cancerous tissue for removal – saving healthy breast tissue and leading to excellent cosmetic results.

Funding support for this exciting new technology was provided by the Chaney Foundation along with proceeds from the 10th Annual Pink and Blue Memorial Cancer Tournament held at The Cannon Club in Lothian.

“We’re proud to be the first hospital in Southern Maryland to offer this major advancement to breast cancer care,” said Dr. Tsangaris. “The SAVI SCOUT® system offers many advantages – primarily a better patient experience, which results in less stress and anxiety on the day of surgery.”

He said it also improves workflow and reduces OR delays by alleviating the need for a patient to visit radiology on the morning of surgery to have a wire inserted. The system is designed for use during a lumpectomy or a surgical biopsy procedure.

Equally important to Dr. Tsangaris is the increased emphasis on staff education. “This is a big push for us,” he said. “We’re devoting time every week like every other major medical center to train our surgical services team on the latest best practices and cutting-edge techniques to continually improve our surgical outcomes.”

He went on to add, “This is a critical step if we want to expand surgical options for patients and perform increasingly complex procedures.

“We have an excellent team caring for the surgical patients we routinely see here,” said Dr. Tsangaris. “But as we add more services and increase complexity, our team needs to be well trained and ready for those new types of patients.”

To increase accessibility, CalvertHealth has also opened an office for its multidisciplinary surgical group in Solomons to make pre-op and post-op consults more convenient for people who live in southern Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.
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