Kishwaukee Hospital

Spencer Tritt

Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb was the site of a full-scale hazmat drill Thursday.

Local firefighters and paramedics worked with hospital staff on how to treat victims of a chemical accident. This includes suiting up in protective gear, de-contaminating patients, and transporting them to the hospital.  DeKalb firefighter Patrick Eriksen says emergency workers need to be prepared for everything.

Chase Cavanaugh

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital has just acquired a precision surgical robot.

Known as a da Vinci, it consists of multiple arms equipped with different instruments for surgery, such as scissors and forceps. Dr. Ricardo Soares was trained on the system, and said using it takes more time than a conventional surgery. But he said the robot can allow for a procedure that doesn’t require as much time for recovery.

Anderson Mikos Architects

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb could have a new breast health center by the fall.

Officials with Northwestern Medicine say the center is meant to increase breast cancer screening rates in DeKalb County. That rate is 65%, compared to a statewide average of 78%. The center will be a buildout of 6,000 square feet on the hospital office building's first floor.

Northwestern Medicine operates the two major hospitals in DeKalb County, but the majority of its resources for stroke care are based at Central DuPage Hospital.  That’s why Kishwaukee and Valley West Hospitals are making use of a telestroke system so doctors can videoconference with area patients.   Stroke coordinator Caryn Josh says it’s one of the first steps in patient care.

“They get that initial CT. They get back to the emergency department room and then we initiate the telestroke robot," she said. "We’re kind of involved from the very beginning with the treatment.”

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital could have a $46 million Wellness Center in the next two years

They want state approval to build a more than 100,000 square foot health and fitness center.  The DeKalb facility would be south of Bethany Road and Greenwood Acres Drive.   

The group's application claims the goal of the center is to increase access to forms of preventative health care, and boost the overall health of DeKalb County.  

The application is on the agenda for the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board's March 14 meeting.  

DeKalb County residents got the chance to learn more about the recent deal between two northern Illinois health systems.

Late last year, KishHealth System joined Northwestern Medicine. It wasn’t a cash deal. For Northwestern, it could mean more patient referrals. For Kish, greater access to services among six hospitals and 90 facilities. State health regulators approved the deal last fall.

KishHealth discontinued in-patient mental health services several years ago. That will not change under the new system. DeKalb resident Donna Bennett says that’s a problem.

The biggest health system in the DeKalb area is joining Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. That’s if a plan wins approval by state regulators.

KishHealth System and Northwestern Memorial Health Care announced they’ve agreed to join together. Their boards issued a joint statement about the proposed merger Wednesday. This means Northwestern Medicine would expand to include a total of six hospitals and 90 locations in northern Illinois.