Established in 2019 by the first female Emirati gynecologist and fertility specialist and staffed primarily by women, Gargash Hospital in Dubai occupies a unique position in the Middle East region.
Dr. Husnia Gargash, the former head of Dubai Hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department and director of the Dubai Gynaecology and Fertility Centre, opened the 50-bed hospital in 2019 to fulfill her vision of offering end-to-end solutions for gynecological problems and helping patients attain their dream of having a family. In addition to having the country’s first dedicated in vitro fertilization (IVF) center, Gargash is classified as a tertiary hospital, which means it offers high-level specialty care to all patients — men, women and children — in a number of other fields, including intensive care for adults and newborns, general surgery, radiology, endocrinology, cardiology, urology and dermatology.
Dr. Gargash’s daughter, Ghada Sawalmah, runs the hospital. The CEO has made a point of hiring and promoting female physicians and managers. Sixty-seven percent of the hospital’s staff positions — and 80 percent of its upper management ranks — are filled by women eager to put their skills to good use.
“Female physicians often aren’t given the chance to lead a team or head a department,” Sawalmah says. “We have found that once we provide them this opportunity, they have more drive than their male counterparts.”
A caring, proactive approach
A priority for Sawalmah is making patients feel relaxed and comfortable — often a challenge in a clinical setting. She banished “hospital beige” from the walls, replacing it with soothing pastels, and trained receptionists to be careful listeners, calming patients’ nerves as soon as they enter the doors.
Physicians, too, practice active listening and compassion.
“You have to speak clearly and transparently with patients,” Sawalmah says. “You can’t leave them feeling that their question is less valid, just because you, as a doctor, have heard it a million times before. There is no room here for arrogance.”
Another thing Sawalmah banished from the hospital is bureaucracy.
“We heard from doctors that they don’t want a bureaucratic system. We said, ‘Come and join us, you won’t find that here,’” she says. “When we receive feedback from doctors, staff or patients, we implement changes faster than other facilities. Because we are not weighed down by bureaucracy, we can navigate challenges as we see them.”
In keeping with its informal, down-to-earth approach, the hospital provides health and wellness tips on social media, part of its emphasis on preventive care.
“People often go to the hospital because something bad is happening, but we want to change the narrative to preventing something bad,” Sawalmah says. “For example, young ladies are getting married a bit later these days, and they can freeze their eggs for future fertility. They don’t need to come to the IVF center as their last hope.”
Advanced imaging equipment
Both at the IVF center — which has its own operating room, lab and pre- and post-operative clinics — and throughout the facility, the hospital is stocked with high-tech equipment, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by today’s internet-savvy patients.
“With Google at their fingertips, patients are becoming more knowledgeable,” Sawalmah says. “They’ll ask questions about the equipment, and it has to be up to standard.”
One of the hospital’s machines is a GE Healthcare Revolution Maxima CT scanner,1 which, like other CT machines, uses X-rays and computer technology to compile detailed images of injuries, tumors, fractures and other conditions. While CT X-rays are directed at the problem area, a certain amount of radiation bounces off the walls instead. From there, this “scatter” radiation may enter the patient’s body, causing excessive radiation dosage, or get into the machine’s portal, adding irrelevant data that reduces image clarity. The Revolution Maxima scanner lowers scatter and uses leading dose reduction software, ASiR-V, that allows technicians to consistently image with up to 82 percent less dose than with prior image reconstruction generations. Together, these core technologies provide everything that is needed to get to the right diagnosis, the first time, at the lowest radiation dose possible.
The hospital also has a GE Voluson E10 ultrasound scanner2 with specialized tools to precisely monitor the size, shape and contractions of fetal hearts, and a GE Vivid E95 cardiovascular ultrasound scanner,3 which enables physicians to do a complete echocardiographic examination with a single probe, saving time for themselves and their patients.
Gargash Hospital’s use of advanced equipment is just one dimension of its founder’s ultimate goal: giving patients the best hospital experience possible.
“We went back to the basics,” Sawalmah says. “What is healthcare about? It’s about the patients. Respect their feelings and questions. Trust and transparency have to be there.”