Michigan Hospital opens $4,5-million learning lab to train surgical teams of future

Royal Oak 10 May 2006Surgical teams from the United States and around the world will learn advanced robotic and minimally invasive surgical techniques at the newly opened Marcia and Eugene Applebaum Surgical Learning Center at Beaumont Hospital.


The 5500-square-foot, $4,5-million centre is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. It was funded in part by a $2,5-million donation from the Applebaums, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Palm Beach, Florida. Eugene Applebaum is the founder of Arbor Drugs Inc., the nation's eighth-largest drugstore chain before being acquired by CVS Inc. in 1998.

Traditionally, surgeons train by operating on patients under the supervision of highly experienced doctors. At the Applebaum centre, new surgeons can test their skills before ever stepping into an operating room, enhancing patient safety. Experienced surgeons can increase their capabilities. In addition, the new centre will allow surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists, technologists and other operating room personnel to train as a team.

"In making this gift, Marcia and I feel strongly that Beaumont Hospital has attained the distinction of being one of the nation's foremost surgical hospitals", stated Eugene Applebaum. "The Surgical Learning Center will provide the most advanced training to medical teams from around the world, building on Beaumont's outstanding reputation for generations to come."

Charles J. Shanley, M.D., vice president of Surgical Services and chairman of the department of Surgery at the hospital, stated: "The Applebaums' gift realizes a five-year vision at Beaumont to develop a premier educational resource that can effectively shift the learning curve for new surgical procedures and technologies out of the operating room. We are grateful to these generous philanthropists for enabling us to extend this vision for surgical training to practising surgeons, resident physicians, medical students, nurses and other hospital personnel so that they, too, can learn the advanced surgical approaches in use at Beaumont."

Beaumont's surgical learning centre is one of a kind due to its unique blend of elements, including:

  • A surgical skills lab with 10 stations where surgeons-in-training will practise skills ranging from simple suturing to complex neurosurgery. Flat-panel television screens and a two-way communications system enable participants to view and interact with doctors worldwide.
  • Two mock operating rooms where the surgical team can rehearse their interactions, leading to improved patient care and safety. One operating room is equipped with an electronic, interactive patient simulator that allows doctors to have hands-on training in medical emergencies without risk to an actual patient. In the second operating room, surgeons can train using a da Vinci robot, for procedures that are less invasive and allow faster recovery than conventional surgery.
  • Workstations for minimally invasive surgical training where participants can learn the latest techniques using "scopes" and small incisions.
  • A high-tech classroom with worldwide distance learning capabilities. It is linked directly to the hospital's operating rooms for audio and visual communication.

Surgeons at Beaumont, Royal Oak performed 55.105 surgeries in 2005. The hospital is second in the nation for surgical volume based on 2004 rankings, the latest available from the American Hospital Association. The hospital offers a full range of surgical services, from general surgery to 13 subspecialities, including bariatric surgery, cardiovascular surgery; neurosurgery; ophthalmologic surgery; oral and maxillofacial surgery; orthopaedic surgery; otolaryngology; paediatric surgery; peripheral vascular surgery; plastic surgery; thoracic surgery; trauma surgery; and urologic surgery.

Leslie Versweyveld

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