The preparations for this year’s event are unlike anything the Olympic Games have seen before: cutting edge medical equipment housed in futuristic Polyclinics will set the bar for clinical excellence higher than ever.
But once the party is over, what will be left behind? Once the athletes have collected their medals and returned home, once the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro returns to its regular rhythm, what will remain of the high-tech medical equipment used to treat the world’s top athletes?
Rio Olympics Chief Medical Officer Dr. João Grangeiro is optimistic. For him, this year’s Olympic legacy will give a much needed boost to Brazil’s healthcare system.
“While the Polyclinic itself is not a permanent construction, there are other Legacy gifts that will stay with us and benefit Brazilian patients for many years to come,” he said.
Souza Aguiar Hospital lies in the heart of Rio. It is Latin America’s second largest emergency care center, and Rio’s busiest trauma hospital. It has more than 600 beds, but sees in excess of 7,500 patients each month.
GE Healthcare is making sure the Olympic Games medical legacy will be put to work here: Over $2 million in new medical devices will be donated to Souza Aguiar, including four robotic surgical arms, six surgery monitors, six anesthetic machines, three digital x-ray scanners, one CT scanner, three ultrasound devices and software to securely store and manage patients’ scans.
In more concrete numbers, the surgical arms will help doctors perform 30% more surgeries, and cut waiting times; the imaging devices will double the number of CT scans, ultrasounds and X-rays carried out in the hospital, and perform them with less radiation; the anesthetic machines and surgical monitors will help shorten patients’ stay in hospital by up to two days by optimizing doses of anesthesia for each patient.
According to Daurio Speranzini Jr., president of GE Healthcare in Latin America, “this technology will give Brazilian healthcare some of the most advanced medical capabilities in the world”. And it enters Brazil’s medical scene at a crucial time: the country is in the grips of a financial crisis and this year will see a huge number of tourists flooding Brazil for the Games.
“In particular, we hope to help the hospital to diminish its waiting line both for diagnostic imaging and for surgery,” added Speranzini. “As this is a donation to a reference traumatology center, the availability of equipment such as surgical arms, anesthetics and state-of-the-art monitors is extremely important to help high-complexity procedures as well as minimally-invasive surgeries.”
“This is a huge technological and logistical step forward that will result in reduction of service time and x-ray exposure dose. Thus, we assure more effectiveness and quality of the service provided to the population”, said Dr. Antonio Araújo de Costa, Souza Aguiar Hospital director.
Along with Dr. Grangeiro, Dr. de Costa foresees a lot of work ahead – but with optimism.