The first Endoscopic Ultrasound Clinic has officially opened at Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) bringing specialized diagnostic care closer to home.
Endoscopic ultrasound is used mostly for diagnosis and has the advantage of taking images of difficult to reach areas such as the pancreas. This enables physicians to do biopsies and remove smaller lesions without having to refer patients to surgery.
CMH estimate that about 450 patients a year will no longer need to travel outside of Waterloo Wellington to receive this level of care.
“Endoscopic ultrasound will have a significant impact on our patients,” said CMH gastroenterologist, Dr. Dan Kottachchi.
“It is underutilized in Ontario, so we’re excited to have it at CMH.”
This medical technology is essential for the assessment and management of many different gastrointestinal diseases and has growing uses as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. CMH is currently, the only hospital within Waterloo Wellington to have this equipment.
Kottachchi says this is an important diagnostic tool with huge benefits when staging cancers.
“Hard to reach organs can be biopsied and we can even remove smaller lesions without having to send the patient to surgery,” Kottachchi said.
“The combination of both a high-definition camera with high resolution ultrasound images provides us with the means to offer more to the patient by way of diagnosis, treatment and even pain relief for enhanced palliative care.”
CMH is the only hospital within Waterloo Wellington to have this equipment. Hospital president and CEO, Patrick Gaskin, says this is part of the new vision for the hospital, in ‘creating healthier communities together.’
“Today we see that vision come to light. When we talk about creating healthier communities together, it is everybody working together to better support our community,” Gaskin said.
“It’s fantastic to see care close to home, meeting the needs, growing our services for the community in partnership with others and supported by an amazing staff. So, it is a great celebration to be here.”
CMH is now accepting referrals from within the Region of Waterloo and Wellington County, which will reduce the need for patients to travel outside their area for care.
“This is the culmination of many years of advocacy from physicians and patients, to bring this very much needed service to our region. This is with much work from our hospital and from regional partners as well. It is an exciting time for our patients, for CMH to be able to provide this service and care, closer to home,” said Dr. Augustin Nguyen, chief of Medicine.
CMH’s endoscopic ultrasound program began seeing patients in October. Referrals to the clinic are by physician and nurse practitioner referral only.
“Our plan is to grow our services so that we can offer the highest level of care to our community. Before acquiring this technology, patients had to travel to Oakville and further even,” Nguyen said.
“As we bring this level of care closer to home, we are grateful for the collaborative relationship we have with our Foundation to help identify the local partnerships and donors that can fund and put the best tools in the hands of our clinicians.”
Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation’s executive director, Lisa Short, says access to innovative equipment and timely care, helps meet the growing needs for local families.
“Community dollars fund 100 per cent of the equipment and technology in our hospital. I want to thank our community donors for ensuring we have the best care delivered close to home for all of us.”
Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation is a registered charitable organization and the fundraising partner of Cambridge Memorial Hospital. Community dollars fund all of the equipment at CMH and in the coming years, the demands for the latest technology and equipment will continue to grow.
“The community provides support and funding,” Short said.
"We are thrilled to be here to represent that, and how important it is for all of us to work together for the betterment of our community hospital, for our friends, families, and neighbours."
For more information, about the Cambridge Hospital Foundation, visit here.