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August 19, 2009 > Top Hat Fund-raiser Supports Purchase of Cutting Edge Technology

Top Hat Fund-raiser Supports Purchase of Cutting Edge Technology

As technology evolves, it typically translates to better outcomes, especially for patients undergoing surgery. But the latest in cutting edge medical technology can be extremely expensive.

Each year, the Top Hat Dinner Dance, which celebrates its 23rd year in October, raises critical funding for medical programs at Washington Hospital. This year, the event will raise money for a Zeiss Pentero operating microscope to be used in Washington Hospital's Operating Room.

According to Moses Taghioff, M.D., medical director of Peri-operative and Strategic Services, the new equipment purchase represents a vital upgrade in technology that will provide neurosurgeons performing delicate surgeries with an essential tool.

"I believe the Zeiss Pentero Operating Microscope is state-of-the-art," Dr. Taghioff says. "The software associated with the microscope makes it integrated with everything else we do in the hospital. It enables the surgeon to recall the patient's magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or blood test results without having to look up or away from the microscope during surgery. The microscope also magnifies the image and provides a great deal of detail and illumination."

Dr. Taghioff explains that the microscope's long depth of focus allows the surgeon to move the microscope while still remaining focused on the area that the surgeon is trying to observe, which ensures that the surgeon has a clear view of the surgery site.

"Other significant benefits include one-touch focusing, the ease of changing the lamp in the middle of surgery if the bulb does burn out, moving the heavy microscope around and balancing it, which in the past could take tediously long to do," Dr. Taghioff adds. "The devise is very user friendly."

Before any decision was made regarding the purchase, Dr. Taghioff and hospital leadership consulted with the neurosurgeons who would be using the microscope.
"We do ask the practicing neurosurgeons what they would like most in terms of important equipment purchases, and they suggested the use of the Zeiss," Dr. Taghioff says. "The new device is much more user friendly and its adaptability to the existing technology in the hospital makes it very desirable."

According to Dr. Taghioff, the microscope also has added functionality that is still awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), potentially expanding the equipment's use in certain clinical procedures.

Overall, the equipment purchase benefits patients, who will receive improved care, Dr. Taghioff says.

"If you look at technology per se, it almost always makes outcomes better for the patient," he says. "Washington Hospital believes in the patient-first ethic, and this purchase is about having a tool to benefit our patients."

Dr. Taghioff calls neurosurgery the fastest evolving specialty within medical science, and says that Washington Hospital is committed not only seeking out the best in technology, but also to hiring the best physicians to make use of it.

The Top Hat fund-raiser, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 10, is an essential factor in the equipment purchase, according to Dr. Taghioff.

"The Foundation has been kind enough to earmark the funds from this year's Top Hat to benefit the neurosurgery program," he says.

He calls Top Hat "a foremost social event" that has provided critical funding to a number of medical programs within Washington Hospital, such as the Washington Women's Center, cancer services and the Heart Program.

"We believe this tool is essential and will benefit everybody in the Operating Room, not just the neurosurgeons," he says of the purchase.

To learn more about the Top Hat Dinner Dance, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, please call the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation at (510) 791-3428 for more details, including sponsorship opportunities.

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