Surgery with faster recovery, renovations among South Side Hospital upgrades

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It’s a few days before Christmas, and “Rockin ‘Around the Christmas Tree” is playing softly from a loudspeaker in the operating room where Dr Ashwini Kumar intently watches a television screen. His hands guide a camera and a long instrument designed to cut a swollen organ from inside a patient through a single incision.

Patient Frances Cooper arrived in the emergency room early that morning in incredible pain. She hadn’t been able to eat for two days. Her appendix, a thin tube that joins the large intestine, had to be removed immediately.

Less than 20 minutes later, emergency surgery is complete. There is no visible scar, and in a few hours Cooper would be back home in time for the holidays.

Texas Vista Medical Center, formerly Southwest General Hospital, is now one of the few facilities in the United States to offer single-site surgery. While most laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgeries involve at least three incisions in the abdomen, Kumar uses a technique and instrument that requires only one point of entry – a 1 to 2 centimeter incision near the navel.

Texas Vista Medical Center surgeon Dr. Ashwini Kumar, second from right, performs single-site laparoscopic surgery on a patient to remove a gallbladder on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

This new service is part of several enhancements, which include the hiring of 10 new medical providers and more than $ 10 million in capital investments, underway at South Side Hospital.

There is new lighting in the parking lot, a complete renovation of the main hospital lobby, and upgrades to medical equipment in the catheter lab and operating rooms. Texas Vista recently received state certifications for advanced maternal and neonatal intensive care, and opened a 24-hour emergency obstetric service with OB-GYNs and access to maternal fetal medicine specialists for complicated or high risk pregnancies.

The new staff additions include two general surgeons, an interventional cardiologist, two family medicine providers, an OB-GYN, an orthopedic surgeon, two sports medicine providers and a physician specializing in chiropody and wound care.

Kumar, a certified general surgeon, was recruited in June, after working for Methodist Healthcare.

“I think Texas Vista is a hidden gem,” Kumar said. “This was ignored for a long time and the community suffered because they had to go to the (South Texas) medical center for services.”

Kumar said he chose to work on the south side because he wanted to serve the communities most in need.

Dr. Ashwini Kumar, a new surgeon at Texas Vista Medical Center, performs single-site laparoscopic surgery on Frances Cooper, 37, to remove her appendix on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Dr. Ashwini Kumar, a new surgeon at Texas Vista Medical Center, performs single-site laparoscopic surgery on Frances Cooper, 37, to remove her appendix on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

The 327 bed acute care facility located at 7400 Barlite Blvd. has provided essential health services to this historically underserved region for more than four decades and also serves neighboring rural communities.

Thanks to the hospital, Kumar opened a medical clinic in Pleasanton, a small town about 30 minutes south of San Antonio. He will also soon be teaching new operating room physicians as part of the hospital’s residency program.

“We want to show people we’re doing cool stuff here,” he said.

Texas Vista trains 43 interns and psychiatrists from the School of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of the Incarnate Word, located in Brooks.

The hospital is owned by Steward Health Care, the largest physician-owned hospital network in the United States. The Dallas-based system operates 44 hospitals in nine states and a handful internationally in Malta and Colombia.

Dr. Ashwini Kumar, center right, a surgeon at Texas Vista Medical Center, with the help of Dr. Edgardo Benavides, makes a single incision to remove the gallbladder of 18-year-old Enevia Acosta on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Dr. Ashwini Kumar, center right, a surgeon at Texas Vista Medical Center, with the help of Dr. Edgardo Benavides, makes a single incision to remove the gallbladder of 18-year-old Enevia Acosta on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Jerry Lara / San Antonio Express-News

Steward hired Jonathan Turton in January 2020 to manage his only facility in San Antonio. He was previously CEO of Baptist Medical Center and CEO of Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Since then, Turton has helped run the hospital through the COVID-19 pandemic and has lost his troubled reputation.

“The changes here are very visible,” said Rebecca Martinez, director of marketing and communications at the hospital. “The culture has really changed. You can certainly feel it.

District 4 City Councilor Adriana Rocha Garcia said the hospital has kept its commitment to be an active member of the community it serves.

“Working alongside our South Side residents and community partners, the TVMC team is committed to changing the health disparities affecting our vulnerable communities and transforming the way healthcare professionals view people. as more than just patients, ”she said in an email Thursday.

She said doctors and medical staff were engaging with residents through community events like a baby shower in October, as well as vaccination clinics set up in the South San Antonio Independent School District and the factory. Toyota further south.

Garcia said the hospital’s partnership with Palo Alto College as part of Educate South “demonstrates the importance of education in ensuring high quality medical care that is affordable and accessible to residents.”

Every baby born there comes home with a basket full of community college treats.

Along with the cosmetic benefit of having less scarring, single-site surgeries mean less pain and reduced recovery time for Texas Vista patients, which is especially helpful for those who can’t afford to. time off from work.

Enevia Acosta, an 18-year-old healthcare worker, had her gallbladder removed this week to ease the pain she had been feeling for several months. Kumar said she could return to work in two days.

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