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Top-notch doctor keeps connected to Westerly

The Westerly (R.I.) Sun—August 28, 2010

Thomas Sculco is more than a local boy who made good. At the top of his medical profession at the hospital named best in the nation for orthopedics in 2010 by U.S.News & World Report, he has never forgotten the small Rhode Island town where he grew up or the influence of family on his chosen career.

As surgeon-in-chief of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, which is also ranked as a leader in rheumatology and ranked significantly in neurology, Dr. Sculco said the recognition reflects a true commitment to excellence by professional health care colleagues "who work hard to advance the research and education that translate into unsurpassed patient care."

Sculco credits a unique surgical system for a statistically lower rate of surgical site infection at Hospital for Special Surgery, explaining, "When we operate on patients, the team wears what is basically like a space suit - an air enclosure system. The surgical team operates in sealed plexiglass chambers. There are ultra filtration air systems so the patient is in the chamber but their head is outside the chamber. The ultra-filtration air system comes into the chamber and filters out all the dust particles. Bacterial infections often occur because of what's called airborne bacteria - it's bacteria in the environment that begin as dust particles and then it settles in an open wound, so what we do is we filter out all the dust particles in this enclosure and nobody can get into the enclosure. All the equipment and prostheses are passed through openings in the enclosure so it's a very ultra-sterile environment and that helps reduce our infection rate to literally almost zero.

"This is a system we designed and developed. There are other hospitals, I believe, that use modifications of it, but it is a unique system developed by our hospital. It's very expensive - extremely expensive. These are custom-made for operating rooms."

This story originally appeared at westerlysun.com.


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