Betty Barakat made Westmead Hospital history on Monday when she became the first neurosurgery patient in the new operating theatres of the Central Acute Services Building (CASB).
The Georges Hall resident, who underwent minor wrist surgery, was surprised to be part of Western Sydney’s important health story as the new hospital building opened its doors to the public.
“It’s exciting to be part of the celebration here with the team,” Betty said.
“It feels good to be involved in the hospital’s history and I’m glad to be able to have my wrist fixed in the new theatre.
“This will give me something to talk about when I get older.”
Sixteen new operating rooms will gradually open over the next few days in addition to the existing theatres to remain operational in the current hospital.
The digitally-enhanced pods feature state-of-the-art technology and allow students to view operations without physically stepping into the room.
Westmead Hospital perioperative services senior nurse manager Lee-Ann McDonald said the staff were excited about the new rooms.
“Today we will open two operating rooms and as a safety precaution, gradually open up more throughout the week,” Lee-Ann said.
“The new theatres mark a major milestone in our 43-year history. But with plenty of training and practice in the new environment, we’re ready to go.
“We currently perform more than 33,000 operations each year; we anticipate this will increase to 40,000 surgeries annually with the additional rooms.”
Westmead Hospital operating theatre registered nurses Lynda Nguyen, Beena Shaji and LeeAnn Sylvester agreed the new theatres reminded them of that “new car” feeling – it’s bright, light and has all the latest technology.
Neurosurgeon Dr Kim Jun was proud his team was performing the first neurosurgery in the new hospital.
“It’s like moving into a new house and everything is brand new,” Dr Jun said.
“Our experienced staff hasn’t changed. But now we’re in this amazing new facility. It’s fantastic!
“The rooms are much bigger and as the technology evolves, we can do more complex cases.”
The new operating theatres on Level 3 of the 14-level CASB mark the third Westmead Hospital service to enterthe facility following the relocation of the emergency department last Wednesday and the central sterile services department on Friday.
The CASB is the centrepiece of the more than $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment.
As the biggest health infrastructure project in the state, it will revolutionise the Westmead Health Precinct and deliver an innovative, integrated facility that will continue to deliver high-quality healthcare for decades to come.
The CASB will ultimately feature:
• Two new emergency departments (one for adults and one for children)
• 25 digital operating theatres
• More than 300 modern patient bedrooms.