VA Hospital Shows New Operating Room Project

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COLUMBIA - Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital held an open house Friday to showcase the new operating room suites and other newly renovated areas. There haven't been any significant renovations in the hospital since the facility opened in 1972.

The open house event Friday afternoon included tours for the community of the new renovations.

Richard Heimburger was a physician during the vietnam war. He used to work at the VA hospital. He said he came to see the hospital from a patient's point of view.

"I might have surgery sometime," said Heimburger. "Now I'd like to see what I'm getting into."

Another veteran from the Cold War, Ed Irwin, has been a volunteer at the hospital for 40 years. He said he is excited to see the new suite for the first time.

"It's welcome," said Irwin. "We need room."

The $25 million project includes 25,000 square feet of new space and 14,000 square feet of remodeled space for surgical support in the new operating room suites. This includes a endovascular suite, two cardiothoracic rooms, three general rooms, a cystoscopy room, and a 8-bed post-anesthesia care unit.

"In the old OR some of the rooms were small and some of the rooms did not have the capacity to do certain cases. Most of the rooms here can accommodate any operating procedure," said Richard Schmaltz, a critical care surgeon from the hospital.

The nurse manager Jennifer Bechtel said the new suite will also bring better technology.

"All of the technology is integrated," Bechtel said about the improvement of technology in the new suite. "All the equipment that they need to adjust per surgeon preference to do the surgeries are remote."

The patients should be able to use the new suite in May.