Celebrity chef Umberto Menghi is known the world over for his unbridled enthusiasm for great food and his commitment to preserving Tuscan culture and cuisine.

His youthful energy is contagious and there is very little that slows him down. But an old skiing injury combined with long hours standing in kitchens around the world had taken a toll. Umberto needed a knee replacement. Impatient to get it done, he sought private care in the US. That’s when he was told by doctors in Arizona and Seattle hospitals that the best place to get it done was right here in his own backyard with Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Bas Masri.

Umberto’s new knee is better than ever. “Besides Dr. Masri’s surgical expertise,” says Umberto “The part I remember most was the outstanding pre- and post-operative care that I received at UBC Hospital. It was absolutely world-class.”

World-class health care is vital to British Columbians. It’s precisely why we are embarking on the Future of Surgery, an ambitious multi-year initiative that will enable VGH to focus on the most complex surgery cases – such as traumas, transplants and complex cancer surgeries – with scheduled operations such as knee replacements like Umberto’s being performed at UBC Hospital.

Phase 1 of the VGH project includes 16 new state-of-the-art operating rooms (ORs) and a special ‘hybrid’ OR built to accommodate complex surgeries. In tandem, a renewal at UBC Hospital will transform the hospital into a hub for scheduled surgeries to enhance efficiency, and most importantly, improve patient outcomes. The two hospitals will work together to maximize efficiencies and reduce surgery rescheduling.

“Forty-five percent of our surgeries are unscheduled,” says Dr. Masri. “For many of our patients, that means their scheduled surgeries need to be rebooked, sometimes at the last minute. Not only will we gain a tremendous amount of capacity and flexibility to improve patient care, the new ORs will also accommodate up-to-date technology and equipment.”

Operating rooms like this one with Dr. Bas Masri will be revitalized as part of the Future of Surgery initiative.

Together, VGH and UBC Hospital perform more than 30,000 surgeries every year. Complicating matters, the operating rooms at VGH – the first accredited Level 1 trauma centre in the province – were built over 30 years ago. They are not standardized and can no longer meet the demands placed on them.

“We’re building for the future. We’re the only medical centre in the province for referrals and complex surgical cases. These improvements to our ORs will continue to position us as world leaders in clinical teaching and research.” – Dr. Bas Masri, VCH Orthopaedic Surgeon

Creating the first interventional, or ‘hybrid’ operating room at VGH is one of the campaign’s first initiatives. This special operating room includes its own state-of-the-art imaging equipment, which means that patients do not have to be moved to another location for imaging during surgery. This saves precious time – and has proven to save lives.

Thanks to the philanthropic leadership of the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation and donors like the Angus and Margaret Reid Family Foundation, Bob and Lily Lee, Alice Chung, John Tognetti, Jason and Emily Ko (Viva Pharmaceutical), Ian Gillespie (Westbank) and the Vascular, Trauma and Cardiovascular Surgeons at VGH, the new hybrid operating room is fully funded and expected to open Fall 2016.