Published on July 03, 2020

Dana and Sue Anderson

Lawrence couple pledges $1 million for LMH Health’s patient-centered technology initiative

by Caroline Trowbridge

Sue and Dana Anderson know firsthand how important technology can be for patients at LMH Health. 

“The work our doctors do is important to our entire community,” Dana Anderson said. “Sue and I are happy to do what we can to provide them with the very best technology they need to perform at the highest level.” 

That’s why the Lawrence couple have made a $1 million challenge gift to LMH Health for new technology that will benefit surgical and heart patients. The Andersons hope their gift — which is one of the largest philanthropic gifts that the hospital has ever received — will spark other donors to support: 

  • A new Mako robotic arm for performing partial and total knee replacements, as well as total hip replacements.
  • Two new da Vinci robotic surgical systems to replace the da Vinci system that has been used at LMH Health since 2013 by general surgeons, urologists and obstetricians/gynecologists.
  • A second cardiac catheterization lab, commonly referred to as a heart cath lab.

LMH Health Foundation, formerly LMH Endowment Association, is a 501(c)(3) that leverages nearly $15 million in philanthropic assets to provide average annual donor support of more than $3.8 million to LMH Health. The organization is governed by a board of directors, which guides programs to grow investments in patient care, community education, charitable care, wellness and more.
LMH Health Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019.

LMH Health Foundation has committed to help the not-for-profit community hospital raise $3 million of the $5 million total cost for purchase the robotics and cath lab. The hospital will fund the balance. 

“We are so grateful to Sue and Dana — and to others who already have stepped up to contribute to this patient-centered initiative,” said Rebecca Smith, executive director of LMH Health Foundation and vice president of strategic communication at LMH Health. 

Anderson underwent hip replacement surgery last year at LMH Health OrthoKansas and “couldn’t be happier with the results.” He says he was inspired to make this gift by his surgeon, Dr. Adam Goodyear, who explained the benefits the orthopedic robot could provide. He and Sue were also inspired by a conversation they had with interventional cardiologist Dr. Roger Dreiling, who detailed the advantages of adding a second cath lab. 

Among other things, this initiative will help ensure LMH Health patients experience: 

  • Quicker and less painful recoveries after surgeries.
  • Shorter hospital stays and reduced reliance on pain medications.
  • The many conveniences of having surgery close to home, a benefit to them and their families and friends.
  • Seamless transitions to post-surgical therapy or treatment.

In addition, the new upgrades will help LMH Health recruit and retain the best surgeons to provide excellent care to patients in the region. 

“People in a position to give are grateful to learn about opportunities like this,” said Dr. Jon Heeb of Lawrence Urology Specialists, who uses the da Vinci system. “If they find something they feel good about supporting, it brings them joy. Part of the reason patients have good experiences at LMH Health is due to the support our donors have provided.” 

Proceeds from LMH Health Foundation’s Hearts of Gold Gala will benefit these patient-centered technological improvements at the hospital. Hearts of Gold, held as a virtual event on October 17 to protect community health, raised over $55,000.

Gifts such as the one the Andersons have made underscore the importance of the role the community plays in making LMH Health a stellar healthcare provider. 

“When our community members partner with us, we all benefit,” said Russ Johnson, LMH Health president and CEO. “Because of support from the Andersons and our many other donors, our hospital continues to offer the best in patient care services. 

New robotic surgical system

In 2013, physicians at LMH Health began using a da Vinci robotic surgical system. The popularity of the da Vinci, which is far less invasive and can be more precise than traditional surgery, has soared among doctors and their patients. 

In 2014, a total of 55 robotic surgeries were performed. Last year, that number increased to 400. As one would expect with any type of cutting-edge technology, it’s time to upgrade the LMH Health da Vinci, which is used by general surgeons, urologists and obstetricians/gynecologists. Often, patients recover more quickly from robotic surgery than traditional surgery. 

The new system could provide even better outcomes for patients, said Dr. Chad Tate of Lawrence General Surgery. 

“The instruments are smaller, and it will rotate and move with the patients’ and doctors’ needs. The optics are better, and we would make a much smaller incision, so there will be less pain for the patient,” he said. 

Mako robotic arm

LMH Health plans to purchase a Mako robotic arm to assist the hospital’s orthopedists with knee and hip replacements. Dr. Adam Goodyear, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoKansas who works with patients who need knee and hip replacements, said the Mako system can be more precise than traditional surgical techniques because it can create a 3-D model of each patient’s joint. Using the system, physicians create a personalized surgical plan. Using the robotic arm, surgeons work within the parameters created and use the arm to assist in placing new joints. 

"Recent studies have demonstrated that patients have decreased levels of pain and shorter hospital stays when having a total joint replacement with the Mako system,” Goodyear said. “Our goal is always to provide our patients with proven, cutting-edge orthopedic surgical techniques and technology that can improve patient experience and outcomes." 

Heart cath lab

Last year, LMH Health opened its renovated cath lab, and it recently became clear that a second lab would benefit patients. The hospital now is performing electrophysiology procedures, as well as standard cath lab procedures, said Dr. Roger Dreiling, cardiologist. Electrophysiology focuses on the electrical systems of patients’ hearts, and LMH now performs catheter ablations to treat atrial fibrillation, which often is referred to as “afib.” 

“Atrial fibrillation occurs frequently enough that we see the need in our community,” Dreiling said. “Fifteen percent of Americans will have afib sometime in their life.”

Lawrence couple pledges $1 million for LMH Health’s patient-centered technology initiative

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