Guadalajara Civil Hospital: a 229-Year History of State-of-the-Art Technology for Patient Care

By Daniel Casillas

Established almost 230 years ago, the “Fray Antonio Alcalde” Civil Hospital of Guadalajara is still one of the most important public health institutions in all of Mexico and remains at the forefront of technology. To find out more about this important hospital and its plans, we spoke with Dr. Jaime Andrade Villanueva, Director of the Civil Hospital of Guadalajara.

– Your hospital has consistently been ranked as one of the best equipped in the country. What are some of the main types of medical equipment your hospital needs to buy or replace regularly?

We are an institution that provides specialty and high-specialty medical care. The fact that we receive more than 1,150,000 visits annually, plus their complexity, requires us to renew and modernize our medical and diagnostic equipment. We process over 5.5 million lab samples, 230,000 imaging studies, and 3,000 pathology studies each year.

Our strengths as an institution include biomedical and information and communication technology (ICT) equipment. We have acquired units to process a high number of procedures for diagnostics and treatment. We enhanced the surgical area with 10 new operating rooms (including a hybrid operating room with a portable CT scanner) at the “Fray Antonio Alcalde” Old Civil Hospital of Guadalajara (AHCGFAA by its Spanish initials), and the other operating rooms have been modernized.

We are looking at bringing in a linear accelerator to treat cancer patients, and a project to increase care coverage for patients in need of hemodialysis.

– Is there any medical device in particular with special technology or innovations that the hospital has recently bought or plans to buy?

We are the best-equipped hospital in the State Health System. We modernized most of the radiology and imaging equipment over the last three years, including X-ray rooms and CT, hemodynamics, and NMR units, which increased our physical installed capacity, and we processed more procedures. We have the highest number of incubators and radiant-heat cribs in the High Specialty Maternal and Child Unit (UAEMI), and we have equipped and modernized the comprehensive care service for children and mothers. We brought in specialist equipment such as hemodynamics rooms, neuronavigation systems, neurosurgery microscopes, and genetic and molecular analysis equipment, to name but a few. Equipment for pandemic treatment, including volumetric ventilators, patient monitors, and hospital beds, has also been upgraded.

The institute is analyzing the feasibility of acquiring a Da Vinci robot and equipment for a radiotherapy and nuclear medicine unit (linear accelerator, PET scanner, planning CT scanner, cyclotron, and high-rate brachytherapy unit).

– What are the main factors that lead a renowned institution like the Civil Hospital of Guadalajara to buy new equipment?

The AHCGFAA is a 229-year-old institution, and the “Dr. Juan I. Menchaca” New Civil Hospital of Guadalajara (NHCGJIM) is 35 years old. Although we are constantly modernizing, we have equipment that has reached the end of its service life. The main reasons for purchasing new equipment are related to factors that include the type of care provided (specialty and high-specialty), the hospital’s accreditations and/or certifications, and systems integration (ICTs).

– Does the hospital have plans for expansions, renovations, or new units?

Yes, there is Civil Hospital East, with nearly 350 beds—a general hospital with specialties that will treat patients coming from nine municipalities in the state. We are also remodeling both hospital units, including microbiology labs, blood banks, pediatric and adult intensive care units, pediatric and adult emergency rooms, and inpatient floors.

We will also be starting with 10 new operating rooms, including a hybrid one at AHCGFAA, a hemodynamics unit at NHCGJIM, and a new mobile hemodialysis unit.

– Is there any new initiative for patient care at your hospital that you could share with us?

The surgical procedures it performs are increasingly less invasive. We have been performing laparoscopic surgery for years, and we have acquired a neuronavigation system and surgery microscopes to treat patients with neurological conditions. We are also doing more and more endovascular diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for stenosis, occlusions, blood vessel dilatation, thrombosis, and valve replacements, among other things.

The hospital currently performs fetal surgery, and we have health professionals trained to identify and treat patients with special conditions that are treatable in the womb before birth. We also carry out complex procedures such as fetal biopsies, intrauterine transfusion, amniodrainage, and fetoscopy, as well as specialized management focusing on the prevention of short- and long-term disabilities in newborns (prevention of retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, intraventricular hemorrhage, and neurological damage). Lastly, we have experience in diagnosing and treating congenital malformations such as cardiovascular, spinal, central-nervous-system, and gastrointestinal malformations.

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