A Publication of WTVP

The history of healthcare in central Illinois is one of innovation, with an impact that is not just regional, but nationwide.

One of those far-reaching firsts occurred on September 15, 1977, with the opening of the first formal ambulatory (outpatient) surgery center in the state. Now known as Methodist SurgiCare, the center reflected a new and growing trend in healthcare. Spearheaded by Dr. Bernard Wetchler, SurgiCare was designed to serve patients who need surgical treatment, but not total hospitalization. Dr. Wetchler’s innovative approach—offering the convenience and cost savings of same-day surgery in the safety and security of a hospital setting—has been adopted by ambulatory surgery centers throughout the U.S. to be used as a model for their own programs.

Thirty-five years later, Methodist SurgiCare continues to meet the needs of patients and physicians for outpatient surgery in a safe, comfortable and convenient environment. SurgiCare offers today’s most advanced, minimally invasive procedures, including arthroscopic surgery on the knee, shoulder, ankle and wrist; breast biopsy; cataract extraction; ear, nose and throat procedures (such as balloon sinuplasty); plastic surgery; and many others. Surgeons at Methodist also use advanced robotic technology to perform minimally invasive procedures for shorter hospital stays and faster healing.

In addition, SurgiCare has undergone a number of enhancements to meet the evolving needs of patients and families. Its newly renovated reception area and family lounge were designed with one thing in mind—the comfort of patients and their loved ones. Amenities in the new area include comfortable furnishings, a family computer center, recliners for longer stays, and a new pod design that offers a more open area while still protecting privacy. Multiple tracking boards enable family members to follow the progress of their loved one’s surgery, while a private consult room allows them to speak openly with physicians following surgical procedures.

For the very young, Methodist offers a number of specialized features to make children feel at ease. Motorized kid cars enable children to drive themselves to their operating room, while push cars are available for even younger patients. A new play room with furniture specifically for pediatric patients offers a variety of fun activities, including interactive video games. A special book developed by the Methodist Child Life Specialist shows children what to expect when they come to the hospital for treatment. It is available in many pediatricians’ offices and at Young patients can also enjoy iPads loaded with age-appropriate games, along with Nintendo DS games, teddy bears, blankets and hats.

While most individuals undergoing outpatient procedures return home the same day, it’s comforting to know that the full services of the hospital are available when needed, including spacious rooms for overnight stays. When it’s time to go home, a free valet service makes it easy for family members to pick up their loved one right at the door.

With 35 years of innovation and experience, Methodist looks forward to continuing to provide safe, professional surgical services as we take our community well into the future. iBi