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Johns Hopkins Medicine Suburban - A Clear Vision for Suburban Hospital Surgery Center

New Directions Fall 2013

A Clear Vision for Suburban Hospital Surgery Center

Date: September 1, 2013

Patient Sally Alkire with  Shameema Sikder, MD
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Patient Sally Alkire, left, and Wilmer Eye Institute Surgeon Shameema Sikder, MD, discuss outpatient surgical treatment options.

Dedicated Staff and Commitment to Safety

Sally Alkire has a sunny outlook on life. That changed about 15 months ago when the 76-year-old moved to Germantown from less-populated California wine country. When she began commuting via the interstate to a part-time job in Silver Spring, her worldview literally dimmed.

Cataracts were the culprit, according to Sally’s surgeon, Dr. Shameema Sikder, medical director for the Bethesda location of the world-renowned Wilmer Eye Institute. Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness, but the condition is treatable via surgery that comfortably takes less than half an hour without general anesthesia.

Sally and Dr. Sikder set a date for cataract removal at the Suburban Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center in Bethesda. While Sally had experienced outpatient surgery before, she says she was very nervous because the eye feels so vulnerable and she’d be awake, though relaxed, during the operation.

“The staff was so reassuring,” she says. “From the moment I walked into the facility, I was greeted and made comfortable.”

Dr. Sikder says she’s excited to be able to offer the surgical services of Wilmer locally. “The surgery center is very modern,” she notes. “And it’s very convenient for people to be seen so close to home, rather than making the drive to the main Wilmer location in downtown Baltimore.” She also agrees with Sally’s assessment of the staff. “They are just wonderful,” she says. “They have a devoted focus on the patient.”

The Suburban Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center, located in the Johns Hopkins Health Care and Surgery Center on Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, features four full-service surgical suites and one procedure room that offer the latest technology to provide high-quality care and advanced techniques. Ocular surgery is a new service offered at the center.


Clinical Director Bobbie Willens, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.O.R., explains, “A significant amount of planning and investment in specific instrumentation was needed in order to offer these ocular surgery services, and our staff also underwent extensive training with the Wilmer Eye Institute.”

Dr. Sikder removed one cataract for Sally in May and another in June. She is one of 100 area surgeons in a range of specialties credentialed to use the Outpatient Surgery Center.

In addition to performing cataract and ocular plastic surgery, the center also handles breast, cosmetic, gynecological, orthopedic and general surgeries.

As the center’s medical director, Dr. Todd Epstein, an anesthesiologist, explains that safety is his primary focus.

“We want everyone to have a clinically safe experience here,” he notes. “That’s something I do not compromise on.”

The center is accredited by the Joint Commission, considered the gold standard in health care. Accreditation indicates the facility is committed to the highest level of patient safety and care, having met rigorous performance standards.

Plastic surgeon Diane Colgan, M.D., has operated at the Suburban Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center since it opened in 2002.

“There’s nothing quite like it in the area,” she says, noting the personalized care and emphasis on safety and state-of-the-art equipment. “The staff’s skills set them apart and, very importantly, the anesthesiologists are top drawer,” exclaims Colgan, chairperson of the hospital’s medical staff. “When patients come in for their post-op exams, they rave about their surgical center experience. I like what I hear: ‘The staff is upbeat, respectful and compassionate,’” adds Colgan.

Today, Sally is excited about her new, improved view on life. “Before the surgery I saw things in beige,” she says. “But now the colors are vibrant! It’s like seeing things for the first time.”