For many, being a patient in one of our hospitals will be their first introduction to Seventh-day Adventists and a chance to experience the hope and healing that only God can offer—often at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

By attending to their patients’ spiritual and physical needs and delivering the best that medical science has to offer, Adventist hospitals serve as healing sanctuaries in their communities—tangible reminders of God’s work to restore, to love and to heal.

So whether it’s a word of hope, a moment of listening, or expert use of cutting-edge technology, an army of caregivers in Colorado’s Adventist hospitals quietly live out their faith in life-changing ways every day.

10 am — Porter Adventist Hospital

Surgeon Mark Jones visualizes a three-dimensional image of a patient’s kidney inside the surgeon’s console of the da Vinci® surgical system. An anesthesiologist injects a special dye into the patient’s IV, and with a tap of a finger, Dr. Jones switches the camera from white light vision to infrared. Within a few seconds, the blood supply to a cancerous mass on the kidney can be seen glowing green when viewed through the advanced robotic 3D surgical camera.

Dr. Jones sits near his patient at the control panel of an incredibly advanced surgical tool, the da Vinci® Surgical System where, like a pilot using a joystick to fly a plane, he remotely guides small surgical instruments inside the patient.

Thanks to the 3D high-definition robotic camera, the surgeon can achieve up to 12x magnification when viewing the area where he will perform surgery. This makes an object the size of a penny appear as large as a basketball. Now the surgeon uses his knowledge and experience to remotely remove the cancerous mass he sees in front of him.

The precision of the robot allows the healthy part of the kidney to remain intact, while safely removing the cancerous portion of the kidney.  This is something he now can accomplish through several small half-inch incisions, instead of the 8-inch muscle-cutting incision used for traditional surgery.

In a few minutes, the surgery will be complete.  Two days from now, the patient will leave the hospital cancer-free, and within 10 days, the patient will be back at work, living a normal life. This is just one of 500 robotic surgeries that will be performed this year by 10 specially trained doctors at the Porter Robotics Institute, the most advanced and highest volume robotics program in the Rocky Mountain region.

11:30 am—Littleton Adventist Hospital

Ted holds a small sheet of paper in his cupped hands. He cradles it gently, like a wounded bird or a precious gem. He silently reads the words: “Deep Brain Surgery Appointment, June 27, 8 am.”

“For the first time in years, I feel hopeful,” he says.

He has just finished an extensive array of tests, and long talks with his neurosurgeon, David VanSickle, MD, PhD. Now he has a date for a surgery that will push back the unwelcome symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease.

But even now, his brain—an infinitely complex electrical circuit–is misfiring. For a reason no one yet understands, an essential chemical in the brain called dopamine is not being produced at sufficient levels, which can cause tremors, aching muscles, slowness and fatigue—even difficulty getting out of a chair.

Deep Brain Stimulation is a surgical procedure that promises to make his life easier. The life-altering symptoms won’t be eliminated, but they will be calmed down. The amount of medicine he takes–some of which have undesirable side-effects–should be reduced by about half.

Dr. VanSickle explains the surgery: “We implant a small medical probe in the brain where the problem exists. That probe emits impulses that interfere with and block the electrical signals that are responsible for Parkinson’s symptoms. It’s not a cure, but it’s a great step forward in our ability to treat the disease.”

1:15 pm—Parker Adventist Hospital

Tonya is wearing a jogging suit as she scurries down the hallway for a follow-up appointment with her surgeon, Matthew Metz. In the hall, she passes a man, well over 400 pounds, plodding step by step, breathing with the help of an oxygen tank.

She gives the man a reassuring smile as she passes. She knows all too well what he is experiencing.

Just one year ago, Tonya was nearly 100 pounds heavier, and tipped the scales at 286 pounds. That’s when she turned to The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado, Parker’s Center of Excellence designated Bariatric Program. The Center is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of medical experts that ensures that patients receive the best care available.

In addition to Dr. Metz, the staff consists of a nurse practitioner, bariatric coordinator, registered dietitians and licensed social worker.

“Being extremely overweight is a life and death matter,” explains Dr. Metz. “It can cause more than 30 life-threatening diseases – including severe hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.”

Tonya is eager to report back to her doctor and to tell him about her most recent accomplishment. As part of her exercise routine, she has taken up running. And just three days ago, she finished her first 10k run.

She ran every step of the way, and crossed the finish line in just 70 minutes.

“Thanks for making me feel like a winner,” she smiles as she begins telling Dr. Metz about her progress.

2:20 pm—Castle Rock Adventist Health Campus

At this moment, Suzanne is midway through an MRI, a medical test in which one’s entire body is put into a machine that takes detailed images of vital organs and gives physicians life-saving diagnostic information.

Two times before, at other diagnostic centers, Suzanne had scheduled an MRI, but cancelled at the last minute. The reason? Like about one of eight people, she is profoundly claustrophobic. For her, the thought of having her body encased in small metal tube inside a massive diagnostic machine was like the worst horror movie imaginable.

But this time is different. She is relaxed and comfortable, thanks to the wide-bore MRI at Castle Rock that has a special opening—one that is much wider and more spacious.

Technology like this underscores Castle Rock’s commitment to patient comfort. The first phase of the newest of the Adventist Hospitals in the area is now in place—an emergency department and diagnostic center. A new hospital will be built in the second phase.

But for people like Suzanne, Castle Rock has already won their loyalty.

4:30 pm Avista Adventist Hospital

Many drivers use a GPS to guide them on unknown routes, alert them to detours, give them information about weather conditions and, in some cases, even tell them where the next gas station is. At this moment, Dr. David Ehrenberger is with a patient, using something similar—a medical GPS, you might say.

On a computer screen in front of him, he sees all the medications his patient has been prescribed, the tests they have taken, and the results, allergies, and the outcome at the last appointment. There’s even a reminder that the patient should be monitored for the possible onset of diabetes.

If Dr. Ehrenberger had to track down all this information from paper files and by calling colleagues, it would take considerable time, but with everything right in front of him, he can focus on how best to treat the patient.

This information is housed on a secure network to ensure confidentiality, but is immediately available to 160 doctors who are a part of Avista’s Integrated Physician Network in North Denver and Boulder. Whether the patient is at a clinic, a diagnostic center, or in the hospital, this complete information is at hand, saving time, making the visit more productive, and improving the safety and level of care provided.

When it helps one physician, it saves time and leads to the best medical outcomes. But when it links an entire team, it becomes something more: a patient-centered healthcare system without walls.

The clock doesn’t stop here, of course.

Every day, 24 hours a day, Colorado’s Adventist hospitals are attending to patients, caring for families, curing disease, and offering the latest medical procedures available—innovatively carrying out the healing mission of Christ.

This article was submitted by Stephen King, senior vice president for mission and ministry for the Rocky Mountain Adventist Health System/Centura Health, where he serves the four Adventist hospitals in Colorado. It was written by CMBell Company.