Surgery Guide

Preparing for your hospital stay
You can expect a call from us about two weeks prior to your admission, so that we may obtain all the necessary preliminary insurance information and answer any of your questions or address any of your concerns. Please feel free to contact an admissions officer at any other time with any questions you may have regarding your inpatient admission. A representative can be reached by calling the main office number at 443-444-3800.

Pre-admission testing
If you are having surgery, your doctor may order some pre-operative tests. If so, we will call you to schedule testing for the week prior to your admission. If you have any questions, call 443-444-3725.

On the day of pre-admission testing, patients may go to the Admissions Office (located just inside the hospital's main entrance) to verify personal and insurance information.

To facilitate your admission, we ask that you please report to our Admissions Office. A receptionist or admissions officer will greet you and obtain all necessary personal and financial information.

We ask that you bring your insurance and social security cards, and any referral or authorization forms with you on the day of admission. For your convenience, admissions are now processed entirely in the Admissions Office, which is open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Advance Directives
Advance Directives are documents written in advance of serious illness that state your choices for health care, or name someone to make such choices should you become unable to make decisions. Advance Directives enable you to limit or extend the use of medical or life-sustaining procedures.

There are three legally recognized forms of Advance Directives in Maryland: a living will; health care instructions and appointment of a health care agent; and a documented discussion with a physician.

Upon admission to the hospital, all adult inpatients are asked if they have Advance Directives. If you do, please bring copies of your documents to give to the admissions officer.

Blood donation for autologous transfusion
Because the safest blood to receive is your own, many patients (who are physically able) will donate blood for their own use prior to elective surgery. Such autologous donations are usually scheduled months to several weeks before surgery. If you are interested in donating blood for your own use, contact your attending physician as soon as possible.

If you choose not to have any blood or blood derivatives (or a transfusion) administered for personal reasons, or as a matter of religious preference, please advise the Admissions Office prior to the day of your admission. To do so, call 443-444-3801 or 443-444-4856.

Day of surgery
Your doctor will give you instructions about what and when to eat and drink before surgery, as well as which medications you should take. A nurse will call you the day before your surgery to review your instructions and assist you with any last-minute questions that you may have.

Remove all jewelry, nail polish and makeup the morning of surgery. Please leave all valuables at home!

You must not drive immediately following surgery; please arrange to have someone drive you home. The best way for you to prepare for your surgery is to get a good night's rest!

Coming to the hospital
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes the day of your surgery. If you are returning home after your surgery, you will need to register at the Outpatient Registration Desk in the Russell Morgan Building. If you are being admitted to the hospital, you should register at the Admitting Office, located just inside the main entrance to the hospital. Depending on the type of anesthesia you receive, you will need to be at the hospital approximately one to two hours prior to your surgery.

Transportation, parking and shuttle service
MedStar Good Samaritan is located at the southeast corner of Loch Raven Boulevard and Belvedere Avenue, convenient to the Baltimore Beltway, interstates, downtown and on public transportation routes. All parking is free at Good Samaritan. Our complimentary shuttle makes routine rounds of the hospital's parking lots and stops at the Russell Morgan Building. Shuttle service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information about the shuttle service, call 443-444-4304.

Family and friends
There are specific waiting areas designated for your family and friends. Your visitors are free to come and go from the waiting areas to visit our Gift Shop, Chapel, Coffee Shop or Cafeteria. However, please tell your visitors to let the waiting room receptionist know where they are at all times, so they may be reached easily by the surgical staff. No visitors are allowed in the Operating Suites or the Phase I Recovery Room. Your visitors may see you once you have reached the Phase II Recovery Room, or your hospital room.

  • Smoking is prohibited inside the hospital. There are designated smoking areas outside.
  • We ask that no electrical equipment or cellular phones be used in the hospital, as they may interfere with some types of medical equipment.
  • You will be prepared for surgery in the Ambulatory Surgery preparation area. Your family may visit you in this area before you are transported to the Surgical Suites.

Operating room
Warm blankets and warm smiles will be provided to keep you comfortable in the Operating Room. The surgical team will greet you as you enter the surgical area and confirm all the information that you have provided. An IV will be put in your arm to administer fluids and medications as needed. Stockings may be put on your legs to help improve your blood flow.

Staying overnight
All patient rooms are either semi-private (two patients per room) or private (one patient per room). Requests for private rooms should be made in advance of admission by calling 443-444-3800, or upon confirmation of your scheduled admission or surgery date. The fee is $10 per day, payable on admission, and based on your expected length of stay as determined by your physician. Because the number of private rooms is limited, we cannot guarantee room availability, though we will do our best to honor your request. If a private room is not available on the day you are admitted, your name will be added to a waiting list to assure you the next available private room on your unit. Please be aware that the additional charge for a private room is not covered by insurance companies.

For your convenience, the hospital accepts the following major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Telephone and television
There is no charge for television service; however, a $20 fee is charged for telephone service (local calls only), regardless of your length of stay. If you elect to have telephone service, payment is due at the time of admission for scheduled admissions and at the time of discharge for emergency admissions. Please remember that long distance calls must be charged to a credit card or calling card.

No smoking policy
Because we care about your health, MedStar Good Samaritan is a non-smoking facility. Smoking is not permitted in any area of the hospital buildings, including patient rooms and solariums. This policy adheres to State legislation and underscores our responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for patients, visitors and employees.

What to bring
We will provide you with fresh linens, hospital gowns, toothpaste, a toothbrush, mouthwash, skin care lotion and soap. You may want to bring other personal hygiene items, and perhaps a robe and slippers. Privately-owned electrical appliances, such as hair dryers, radios, etc., are not allowed.

Please avoid bringing items of great value, such as jewelry or large sums of money. If you need to make a deposit or co-payment on your insurance deductible, or to pay an out-of-pocket expense at the time of admission, be sure to bring the amount required to satisfy your non-covered insurance expenses, as well as a small amount of additional cash for the purchase of personal items. These may include: telephone service, gift cart items and newspapers. If you do bring valuables, please inform the admitting officer, who will check them, make a list of your items and take them to our Security Off ice to be stored in a safe until you request their return.

Food services
No stay in a hospital would be complete without the mention of food. At MedStar Good Samaritan, we cater to your good taste and offer choices and professional, personal, caring service.

  • Breakfast a la carte. Our new breakfast cart provides a nutritious and tasty continental-style breakfast. Our a la carte selections include cereals, juices, muffins, coffee, yogurt, fruit, hot breakfast sandwiches and more every morning.
  • Menu service. A hospitality assistant visits patients to personally take orders for the day's meals. Each meal includes a chef's special or an alternate selection. Rest assured that all our meals are well-balanced and nourishing, and are specific to your individual dietary needs. We even take into account your allergies. All food is prepared by Morrison Health Care, Inc.

Financial responsibilities
Discuss your estimated length of stay and anticipated tests and services with your doctor. All insurance programs, including Blue Cross, Medicare and Medicaid, have coverage limitations on room and board charges and certain tests and services.

Once your admission is scheduled and pre-admission information is obtained, our financial counselors will contact your insurance carriers to verify your eligibility and benefits and to complete any pre-certification requirements. Patients are advised to contact their insurance carriers to review benefits, policy limitations and exclusions. If your insurance company will not fully cover your hospital stay, you will be asked to bring a deposit covering the estimate balance at the time of your admission. The balance is calculated according to your expected length of stay, and the verification of your coverage communicated to our financial advisors by your insurance carrier's representatives. Please be aware that deposit amounts are estimates only.

If you do not have insurance, our financial counselors are available to help arrange alternative methods of payment or to coordinate your financial assistance. Our counselors are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an interview with one of our financial counselors, just refer to the following list and call accordingly.

If your last name begins with:

  • A through H, call 443-444-3806
  • I through P, call 443-444-4586
  • Q through Z, call 443-444-4587

Professional fees
Your hospital bill will not include physician fees. Each physician providing a service will bill you separately. In addition to your attending physician, this may include anesthesiologists, cardiologists, radiologists, surgeons or other consultants. Questions about professional fees should be directed to the person providing the service.

Visiting Hours

  • Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
  • Four visitors are allowed per patient at any one time.
  • Exceptions can be easily made to accommodate what is best for our patients. Simply talk to your nurse or your unit's patient care coordinator.

MedStar Good Samaritan provides healthcare with a patient-centered focus. This means that our policies reflect what is best for our patients. Our visitation policy recognizes the important role that family and friends play in the healing process. In addition, we must provide a safe and secure environment for patients, staff and other guests.

Our guidelines reinforce the need to minimize disruptions to the therapeutic environment of the hospital, while giving patients and their guests time together to:

  • Make health-related decisions;
  • Learn self-care techniques so they go home prepared; and
  • Visit with each other, which helps to fulfill emotional and spiritual needs.

The Security Department is primarily responsible for regulating visitors. However, each MedStar Good Samaritan staff member plays a role in enabling guests to feel comfortable and at ease during their visits.

After your surgery
You will be moved to a Recovery Area while your anesthesia wears off. Some things to note:

  • As you wake up, you may be especially sensitive to noises, lights, heat and/or cold. You may also be more emotional than normal. Let your nurses know and they will do what they can to assist you.
  • The nurses and doctors will ask you a lot of questions. This does not mean there is anything wrong; it is part of our normal routine.
  • To prevent pneumonia, you will be asked to cough and deep breathe frequently.
  • You may experience some side effects, depending on the type of anesthesia you have received:
    • Local or regional anesthesia: numbness, tingling, nausea, shivering, headache or backache
    • General anesthesia: nausea, thirst, shivering, gas, temporary memory lapses, sore throat or sore jaw

When your nurse and anesthesiologist think you're ready, you will be discharged from the Recovery Area.

Pain management
Most people have pain after surgery. Your nurse will help by giving you the prescribed and most effective pain medication and by helping you to position yourself most comfortably.

When you return home, it is important that you take your pain medication as prescribed. This will help you to recover faster and allow you to do the things you need to do. Please follow all precautions while taking your pain medication.

Please call your physician with routine questions about your home pain management plan. If you are admitted to the hospital, you can be assured that a pain management team will be continuously monitoring your care.

Going home
If you receive any sedating anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you home. If you receive general anesthesia, someone should stay with you for at least 24 hours.

You will receive written instructions prior to your discharge from the hospital. A nurse will review these instructions with you and answer any questions that you may have.

Have all your prescriptions filled promptly. MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital has a MedStar Pharmacy on site, which is conveniently located in the lobby of the Morgan Building.

You may be drowsy for the first 24 hours, so:

  • Do not drive, operate machinery or make important decisions. Your coordination and judgment may still be impaired, however "normal" you may feel.
  • Do not take any medications without consulting your physician.
  • Do not drink alcohol, as it could interact with the anesthesia that is still in your body.
  • Take it easy! Your body needs time to adjust and get back to normal.
  • A nurse will contact you within three days after your surgery to see how you are doing and answer any questions that you may have about your recovery.