Young Executive Group Pledges $1 Million to Fund High-Tech Pediatric Heart Unit

02/08/01    Portland, Ore.

Doernbecher Children's Hospital Opens New Cardiac Surgery Suite

The Junior Executive Board of the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation has recently pledged its largest gift ever: $1 million to equip a state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac surgical suite at Oregon Health Sciences University's Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Newly hired pediatric cardiovascular surgeon Ross Ungerleider, M.D., leads the children's heart surgery program and began using the new operating room just before Christmas.

The surgery suite boasts three double-screen, flat-panel monitors that can be positioned to be viewable from any angle in the operating room. One screen shows the patient's vital signs and the other displays the surgery itself shot by a miniature camera situated atop the surgeon's head. This setup allows the surgeon to have quick access to vital signs during a procedure, gives all nurses and assisting surgeons an unobstructed view of the operation and is ideal for training medical residents inside the room or in remote locations. The monitors were specifically designed for operating room conditions and to have a high enough resolution that slight variations in color and texture could be easily distinguished.

In addition to the high-tech monitors, the suite also is being outfitted with a new heart-lung pump designed specifically for pediatric patients. This machine circulates and oxiginates the blood during the surgery so the heart remains still and dry. Similar pumps, called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, are being purchased for patients whose complex procedures require long-term ECMO therapy, allowing the child's organs to rest and heal after surgery. Ungerleider is a world-renowned expert in the use of ECMO technology and will further this research at OHSU.

The Junior Executive Board is one of Doernbecher's many volunteer fund-raising groups. It raises money through three annual fundraisers: Generation Jam, Art in Good Taste and the High-Tech Softball Tournament.

"The Junior Executive Board's generosity will have a long-term, tangible impact on the pediatric heart patients who come to Doernbecher each year," said Jonathan Ulsh, executive director of Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation. "This new surgical suite will enable Doernbecher to continue to provide the highest quality cardiac care for its young patients."

Doernbecher's Junior Executive Board was established in 1996 with the goal of fund raising and generating good will for the children's hospital. The board consists of 30 young civic and community leaders who share a passion for Doernbecher's mission of improving the health of children in our region.

February is American Heart Month.