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Dartmouth Medical School Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Vital Signs

News Briefs

EYE PIECE: Dr. Paul Sullivan, an emeritus DMS faculty member, was honored at the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society's 2010 meeting for pioneering, in 1968, a way of treating a detached retina. The Cogan Society is named for an illustrious 1930 DMS alum, Dr. David Cogan.

DOG DAYS: A dozen dog-and-owner teams, certified by Therapy Dogs International, are among DHMC's 600 volunteers. A visit from a friendly pooch has been shown to relax patients, slow their heart rate, and even lower their levels of stress hormones.

Big Bang for a Small Town

End of an era

See footage of the implosion of the old hospital.
Watch video

A number of buildings on the Dartmouth campus have been razed over the years so newer structures could take their place. But only one campus demolition in Dartmouth's 241-year history was accomplished by dynamite rather than a wrecking ball or bulldozer. Exactly 15 years ago, on September 9, 1995, a controlled implosion brought down the eight-story main building of the old Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. Before Dartmouth-Hitchcock's 1991 move to its Lebanon campus, MHMH sat for almost a century at the corner of Maynard Street and Rope Ferry Road in Hanover.

Dartmouth officials had determined that an implosion would be the least expensive, least disruptive way of demolishing the structure. It took over 500 pounds of dynamite but only 15 seconds to topple the 304,000-square-foot building. Several thousand spectators showed up to watch the plunger being pushed. First came a few puffs of smoke and muffled bangs as the strategically placed blasts went off. Then the building crumpled in upon itself amid a cloud of dust. By the time the dust cleared, eight stories had collapsed to the height of one.

A parking lot and two dorms now occupy the site.


GREEN WAY: A new "green roof" adjacent to the Birthing Pavilion promises to mitigate temperature fluctuations, reduce runoff, cost less to maintain, and extend the life of the roof up to 200%—not to mention the fact that it provides an appealing patio for patients.

LOWDOWN: The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services says DHMC's rate of hospital-acquired infections is 36% lower than the U.S. average. Nationwide, such infections lead to an estimated 99,000 deaths and $30 billion in excess costs each year.

TUBE TOPS: A TV show featuring Drs. Ira Byock and Elliott Fisher of DMS has won a George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in journalism and been nominated for an Emmy. The show, on 60 Minutes, was titled "The Cost of Dying."

SPEAKEASY: Whether in Greek or Gujarati, the DHMC interpreting service can help patients and their families communicate with staff. Spanish is the language most often requested; sign language is second. Also common are Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and French.

Surgery On Your Mind?

DHMC's new Outpatient Surgery Center (pictured at right) opened on schedule in June, with a promise of convenient in-and-out access for patients. The $32-million, 41,000-squarefoot, stand-alone facility has eight operating rooms—four currently in operation and four that will come on line next year.

Before the OSC, DHMC's 27 operating rooms were maxed out. As a result, routine, same-day surgeries often had to be delayed to make way for emergency cases. Such schedule disruptions were inconvenient for patients and expensive for the Medical Center, which has to pay staff overtime when the operating room schedule runs longer than planned. Now, the OSC will handle some 4,500 routine procedures each year, freeing up the ORs in the main hospital for more complex, lengthy procedures.

Greater on-demand OR capacity, ample on-site parking, a guarantee that more procedures will happen on time: those are benefits that anyone can get on board with.


CHINA CABINET: Dr. Murray Korc, DMS's chair of medicine, traveled to China in July to be honored by the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology for Distinguished Achievement in Pancreatic Cancer Research and Clinical Management.

A PODCAST A DAY . . .: DHMC has launched a podcast series called "Healthy Highlights." The episodes are on topics ranging from medication safety to nutrition and tobacco cessation to aging. To subscribe, go to dhmc.org/goto/health.

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