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E.J. Noble reopens operating room

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GOUVERNEUR — E.J. Noble Hospital has reopened its operating room with upgrades to its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system that were completed at the end of June.

“The reopening is another step forward in the hospital’s plan to stabilize and revitalize essential services for the community,” CEO Marlinda L. LaValley said in a statement. “Our staff and surgeons worked with assistance from staff at Canton-Potsdam Hospital to assure that procedures were in place to perform surgery with the highest possible quality.”

Eleven eye surgeries were done Monday. More surgeries are scheduled, including arthroscopic knee surgery and minor orthopedic surgeries, with Dr. George Mina.

The hospital hopes to soon offer general surgeries, such as colonoscopies. Dr. Nicholas F. Gardner also uses the operating room for dentistry procedures on patients who require general anesthesia.

The hospital also expects to have a part-time general surgeon by the fall, although it is not certain yet whether the physician will be a new recruit or come from Canton-Potsdam Hospital. E.J. Noble lost its general surgeon after the state Health Department shut down its laboratory for deficiencies Sept. 28.

The closure of the lab forced the hospital to shut down many essential services, including the operating room, until the Health Department allowed a partial reopening of the lab. Surgical procedures that did not require a blood bank then resumed.

A management agreement with Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, was finalized in March, the same month the operating room was closed for the upgrades.

The improvements and safety checks were completed at the end of June.

Other changes are ongoing at the hospital, which is reviewing contracts for a fire suppression system, including sprinklers, at Kinney Nursing Home. The nursing home, which is affiliated with the hospital, meets code but is required to have a sprinkler system this year, spokeswoman Rebecca J. Faber said.

“It’s in process,” she said.

Nurse practitioners Rachel I. Raven and Andrew LaFrance will move from CPH’s medical center in Canton to E.J. Noble’s medical office wing Aug. 1. Eventually, they are expected to move to a primary care clinic that is being established at E.J. Noble.

Both of the nurse practitioners are part of a free clinic — Health and Hope Mission — for uninsured adults in the Mini-Mall.

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