October A Watershed Month at HRHS


October was a landmark month at Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System, and we’re not finished yet! We launched services and treatments that take our care to a new level of excellence, as we strive to constantly improve service to patients throughout south central and western Kansas. 

Earlier this month, Dr. Mo Al-Halawani with Hutchinson Pulmonary Associates performed a recently FDA-approved lung valve treatment for patients afflicted with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/ emphysema. Hutchinson Regional Medical Center is one of only two hospitals in Kansas to perform this advanced procedure. 

The new treatment, named Zephyr Endobronchial Valve treatment, is a minimally invasive procedure that allows (COPD)/emphysema sufferers to breathe easier without major surgery. An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from COPD, 3.5 million of which also have emphysema. 

In other developments, Dr. Robert Fleming utilized the Impella 5.5 heart pump for the first time to successfully treat a patient during a procedure at Hutchinson Regional. The Impella is the world’s smallest heart pump, and is used to maintain blood flow during a high-risk coronary intervention or high-risk surgical procedure. This tiny device is placed inside a catheter with an electrical motor that delivers 5.5 liters of blood flow per minute to the body. This process allows the heart to rest and recover by temporarily assisting the pumping function for other organs to efficiently deliver blood and oxygen to the entire body. 

Additionally, Hutchinson Regional Medical Center will take to the air as the first in the nation to serve as a test site for a new drone-powered delivery network of healthcare resources for everything from blood, medicine and small medical devices and vaccines. 

We consider it a high honor that Hutchinson Regional has been picked to launch what may soon become the norm for transporting medical resources. The pilot project, dubbed “Spright,” is a partnership between German drone manufacturer Wingcopter and Denver-based air medical services provider Air Methods. The drone has a range of 68 miles with a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour and can carry a payload of up to 13 pounds. At some point, a larger drone may be introduced to transport patients between hospitals. 

The sky is the limit (pun intended) in our industry, where speed is more than a convenience; it’s life and death.  We’re so proud to be the first in America in what may be the next great advancement in patient care. 

Next in our list of advancements: Robotic assisted surgeries aren’t new, but the da Vinci Xi is new to us, with its slimmer boom mounted arms, extended instrument reach, guided targeting, and integrated auxiliary technology, which addresses limitations on earlier models. 

The da Vinci Xi allows surgeons to perform complex surgery in a much less invasive process all from a console in the Operating Room (OR) suite. Among uses of this new technology will be prostate removal, hysterectomies, thyroid cancer procedures, and gastric bypass surgery. 

The da Vinci Xi includes a fluorescent imaging system called Firefly that potentially improves safety by allowing clearer imaging of bodily organ blood supply. Additionally, the integration of the robot’s power supply in the new model may minimize excess energy at the surgery site, resulting in less tissue damage. 

With all of these innovations, we are providing the most advanced treatments to residents of our service area and beyond. It is not uncommon for patients from the far western regions of Kansas, Wichita, or even Kansas City to make Hutchinson a destination stop for healthcare. The enhancements are a part of our long-term plan, and additional services are on the drawing boards. 

As legendary Coach George Allen often said, “the future is today” and we are working hard to make that happen.

by Ken Johnson, President and CEO 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here