While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet many of you, my name is Valerie Barlow and I’m the Senior Vice President & Administrator of North Hospital. While I’m new to this role at North, I’ve been part of the WakeMed family for more than 20 years, serving in a variety of leadership roles throughout the system. This year, I’m thrilled to be part of this incredible, growing community here at North Hospital – and to support the needs of our patients by continuing to add the much-needed programs and services that allow our patients to get the highest level of care they need, right here in North Raleigh.
The growth we’ve seen here over the past five years has been remarkable, and I’m charged with the exciting task of building on that momentum to take WakeMed North Hospital to the next level. This means more innovative programs and services, advanced procedures, greater capacity for surgery and inpatient care, and much more – all while maintaining our focus on delivering the highest level of quality and service you’ve come to expect from WakeMed North Hospital.
What’s New at WakeMed North Hospital?
While I can’t take credit for any of it, the past year has been filled with many exciting accomplishments and milestones for North Hospital. New procedures, advanced specialty coverage, and higher level of services are allowing us to keep more patients here at WakeMed North to get the care they need, closer to home. Here are just a few examples:
- More advanced surgical procedures: Starting in January, WakeMed Physician Practices – General Surgery has expanded their on-call coverage at WakeMed North Hospital. What does this mean for patients? Less transfers, more emergency surgeries, complex procedures and a higher level of care available around-the-clock. With highly-experienced surgeons from the same team that covers Wake County’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, patients now have access to many of the most advanced surgical services you find at hospitals throughout the region – to include emergency hernia surgery, appendectomy, intestinal obstruction and/or perforation, and colorectal procedures such as bowel resection.
- Endocrinology care for inpatients: Patients experiencing complications from conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders or other hormonal imbalances now have access to a higher level of care from our partners at Capital Endocrine Consultants who are now offering consultation to patients at WakeMed North Hospital.
- Advanced GI procedures and diagnostics: This winter, WakeMed North expanded its diagnostic offerings to include endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a procedure that allows gastroenterologists to see and treat problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts, such as gallstones, pancreatitis, tumors or other trauma to the bile ducts. The procedure requires specialized treatment and was not previously offered at North Hospital, which meant that certain patients with these suspected GI issues would have been transferred to another hospital.
Recent Milestones & Fast Facts
It’s been less than 6 years since WakeMed North opened its doors as a full-service women’s hospital in May 2015. What began as the place to go for women to deliver a baby or have surgery has since transformed into a major community hospital designed to support the healthcare needs of the whole family.
WakeMed North Hospital Firsts
- North Hospital’s first prostatectomy was performed by Dr. Carmin Kalorin (WakeMed Physician Practices – Urology) earlier this spring. A prostatectomy is a procedure to remove all or part of the prostate gland, typically due to prostate cancer.
- This March, Dr. Ian Villanueva performed the first laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. This is a complex procedure that involves wrapping part of the stomach around the lower part of the esophagus for certain GI conditions such as GERD or hiatal hernia.
- Drs. Ndidi Azikiwe and Brandon Roy performed the facility’s first robotic hemicolectomy, a procedure to remove half of the colon and attach the small intestine to the remaining portion of the colon. It can be used to treat colon cancer and bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or severe diverticulitis.
- In February, Dr. Riaz Chowdhury, WakeMed Physician Practices – Gastroenterology performed the first endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedure. This procedure is used to diagnose and treat problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts. More than a dozen of these procedures have been performed since our first case.
- Earlier this year, the first peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line was inserted by our specialty-trained nursing team. This advanced intravenous offering allows us to care for patients who need IV nutrition or prolonged IV antibiotic coverage, such as those who have an extended recovery from complicated abdominal surgery.
- Our partners at Capitol Endocrine Consultants conducted their first inpatient endocrinology consult performed earlier this spring. This new specialty coverage expands the breadth of services we can provide without the need for transfer.
WakeMed North Hospital Fast Facts
What’s Next at WakeMed North Hospital?
- Increased surgical capacity: There is growing demand for emergency, inpatient and outpatient surgeries at WakeMed North Hospital. To accommodate this growth, we’re evaluating numerous options to make it faster and easier for our patients to get the surgical care they need on our campus – to include an outpatient surgery center and additional procedure rooms. This will allow us to keep more complex surgical cases at the hospital, while moving simpler, elective procedures to an outpatient setting for greater patient convenience and value.
- Continued expansion of GI offerings: Plans to introduce advanced offerings such as endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) are underway, which will help our gastroenterologists make accurate diagnoses without the need for invasive procedures. This spring, we’ll be partnering with Raleigh Medical Group/Wake Endoscopy in addition to our WakeMed Physician Practices – Gastroenterology teams for enhanced GI coverage at WakeMed North. Future plans to expand our endoscopy suite mean we’ll have greater capacity to support advanced GI procedures.
- More specialized coverage for hospitalized patients. In addition to our recently added endocrine and neurology coverage, we’re adding infectious disease to our growing roster of specialty consults available, with several others in the works. This will eliminate the need for unnecessary transfers and allow our patients with infectious diseases and those who need other specialty services to get the care they need right here at WakeMed North Hospital.
- Enhanced imaging services. Thanks to our new value partnership with Siemens Healthineers, we’ll be upgrading our imaging equipment to the latest, state-of-the-art technology available, and adding specialized scanning in numerous areas over the coming months and years.
- More of the best minds and biggest hearts. As WakeMed North Hospital continues to grow, so does the need for exceptional nursing and support staff. In the coming year, we’re focused on recruiting in many areas to ensure we have the experienced care teams we need to support the specialized needs of our patients.