Good News Blog

Healthcare

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007

Creation Health Breakthrough

Florida Hospital has a blueprint for better health in 2007, the Creation Health Breakthrough.

Des Cummings, Executive V.P. at Florida Hospital said, “I’ve made a commitment to live healthier, to eat right and to get a little bit better sleep than I have in the past.”

If that sounds familiar, you are not alone. Thousands of people across the country make similar resolutions as they head into 2007.

Not everyone will succeed and this is where Florida Hospital steps in.

On the three-story banner are eight principles Dr. Monica Reed says makes up a blueprint for better health. She dug into the roots of the Adventist Health System to come up with a plan and devised the Creation Health Breakthrough.

Dr. Monica Reed, The Creation Health Breakthrough & CEO Celebration Health said, “Choice, rest, environment, activity, trust in the Divine, Interpersonal relationships, outlook, and nutrition are put together so people can have a healthy, a happy, and an extended life. The 8 principles of this program actually come from the seven days of creation.”

“These eight principles of health have been nationally recognized as the keys to living longer, living better,” Cummings said.

Eight jumping jacks represent the eight principles. Dr. Reed says 60 percent of all of our diseases, those linked to the number one killers of Americans stem from lifestyle choices.

“It’s a life plan and that’s what I love about it, because life is more than how we live bodily, how we live physically. It’s how we feel mentally, it’s how we feel emotionally, how we relate with one another and more and more scientific research is telling us that these things play an equal and important role in how long we live and how healthy we are,” Dr. Reed said.

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006

Local heart patient: “They said I’m a miracle”

Randall Shovan is convinced he wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the resources and superior cardiac care he received at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.

Shovan, 45, suffered a massive heart attack in his Shreveport home in September, which was aggravated by a six-hour delay in contacting authorities. He survived with the help of 20 physicians, a triple bypass procedure, a pacemaker and a defibrillator.

LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport is providing some of the best heart care in the country, according to a Gannett News Service study.

“I should be dead,” he said. “They said I’m a miracle. I’m glad I came to the LSU medical center. A real plus is all the knowledge they have here working on you. I would most rather come here than any other hospital in the world.”

In addition to the number of minds the facility brings to bear with each patient, Shovan also praised the medical center’s thorough approach to physical therapy and to its discharging policy.

“They don’t want their miracle patient to get out of here if there’s something still wrong with him,” he said.

Shovan’s story is just one of many nationwide.

Kim Miller, a 48-year-old single mom and businesswoman in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., thought through her hospital choice, despite being in the throes of an attack.

Doubled over with chest pains and nausea “” symptoms of a heart attack “” Miller had two hospitals to choose from in her hometown one night in December 2003, as she telephoned a friend for a ride to the emergency room.

One of the hospitals, Vassar Brothers, is the city’s heart center and performs cardiac surgery.

“I knew that Vassar has the cardiac center,” said Miller, who directed her friend to drive her to that hospital, rather than the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital.

In 2004-05, Vassar Brothers performed above the state and national medians for providing correct care to heart attack patients, and earned five stars in the GNS analysis for landing in the top category nationally and within New York state.

The other hospital, St. Francis, performed below the medians and earned one star.

Miller is happy about her choice and the treatment she received at Vassar Brothers. But St. Francis President and CEO Bob Savage said it wouldn’t have made a difference if she had chosen his hospital instead.

“All hospitals really can treat an acute myocardial infarction, a heart attack. The difference in Vassar Brothers and St. Francis at this point is they do have the cardiac catheterization lab, and cardiac catheterization is the ultimate diagnostic tool.”

Monday, Nov. 6, 2006

Medic is hero in jet plane drama

PARAMEDIC Richard Miller has been hailed a hero after he treated a flight crew injured when their plane had to plummet to avoid a mid-air crash. [Unhappy Landings: Why Airplanes Crash]

Mr Miller, a paramedic with the Wiltshire Air Ambulance based in Devizes, was a passenger on board the BA flight and he and his partner Sarah Taylor were returning to Gatwick after spending a week’s holiday in Florida.

The plane, a Boeing 777, was just 15 minutes into the flight from Tampa and at 16,500 feet when the pilot was forced to descend suddenly.

The plane, carrying 175 passengers, three pilots and 11 crew, plunged 600 feet in a bid to avoid collision with another plane above it.

Four members of the crew were injured as they were thrown about, hitting their heads on the ceiling.

Mr Miller, 32, who lives in Devizes, was the only passenger who had medical experience and volunteered his services when the crew appealed for help.

He said: “There was a lot of distress and screaming going on in the aircraft when the plane descended. There was a huge drop and then a bang at the back of the aircraft where the trolleys had gone over.

“Members of staff rushed off down to the back of the aircraft with equipment and there were members of the crew injured.

“At first I thought it was turbulence but then I realised we were quite low and it was going on a lot longer than it should.

“People didn’t know what was going on and the problem was the uncertainty. You did wonder if it was terrorism. The pilot came on the tannoy 20 minutes later and said they had descended to avoid another aircraft.”

One male crew member had a cut head and a female stewardess suffered a back injury.

Mr Miller said: “The stewardess was quite agitated initially but I managed to calm her down,” he said.

Passengers remained scared during the ten hour flight. “There were people in tears when we got off the aircraft,” he said. [A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last]

He added: “The chief stewardess thanked me very much for my help. It was no problem. It’s what I am trained for.”

Mr Miller, who grew up in Hullavington and whose parents John and Carol still live there, said the experience had not put him off flying. He has been with the ambulance service for 15 years, five of them with the air ambulance.

A BA spokesman said the company was grateful to Mr Miller for his help.

A hero for young hearts

Pediatric cardiologist to be honored

A frightened little girl is having her heart examined in a room at the Harlan County Health Department.

An echocardiogram is painless. But Whitney Estes, 5, is uneasy about the echo machine and the strange noises it makes.

Fortunately, the cheerful woman who is directing the test keeps Whitney distracted with continuous banter, asking what kind of costume she wore trick-or-treating the night before and how much candy she hauled home. Through all the chatter, though, Dr. Jacqueline Noonan’s eyes never leave the screen of the echocardiogram machine and its fuzzy, gray image of Whitney’s beating heart.

Soon, a relieved Whitney heads home with a clean bill of health. Noonan has determined that a suspicious sound doctors noticed earlier in the little girl’s chest was only an “innocent murmur.”

“This,” Noonan says, “is the fun part.”

Over the next several hours, she will see a dozen or more youngsters like Whitney. Neither the children nor their parents realize they’re being cared for by a doctor whose name is known at major medical centers around the world.

The University of Kentucky recently established the Dr. Jacqueline A. Noonan Children’s Miracle Network Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research. And today the university is holding the Dr. Jacqueline A. Noonan Symposium, “A Heart of Gold,” at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Lexington. Up to 150 doctors and health practitioners, including many Noonan trained, are to attend. Gov. Ernie Fletcher is proclaiming today Dr. Jacqueline A. Noonan Day in Kentucky.

Doctor, teacher, pioneer

Noonan is a pioneer in pediatric cardiology, recognized as the discoverer of Noonan syndrome and the first to describe hypoplastic left heart syndrome. She is a pillar of the UK College of Medicine, which she joined in 1961, even before UK Hospital opened, and a teacher who has touched every class of new doctors the school has produced. She has changed lives all over Eastern Kentucky.

Dr. Tim Bricker, chairman of pediatrics at UK and physician in chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, says Noonan may have had a greater effect on the health of Kentucky children than anyone else in the state’s history.

“We want the level of excellence that she has held forth throughout her career to be exemplified at Kentucky Children’s Hospital,” Bricker said. “She’s wonderful to work with, always looking for what’s new, what’s next, what’s better. She is one of my heroes.”

Noonan is a tiny woman with blazing curiosity, boundless energy, and a grin that never seems to leave her face.

Officially, she retired from medicine at the end of 1998 but now admits that she “kind of failed at that.”

Noonan still sees patients at UK’s regional health clinics, like the one held Wednesday at the Harlan County Health Department. She still sees a few patients in Lexington and serves on the medical school admissions committee. And on UK’s Institutional Review Board, which oversees medical research. And on the board at UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. And she still teaches a class at the medical school. And on and on. Noonan turned 78 last Saturday.

“To me, retirement is how you spend your bonus years, which are the years we really didn’t have until life expectancy went way up,” she says. “So, I thought, what do I want to do with my bonus years? I liked what I was doing during my working years, so I thought I’d keep doing some of that.”

Noonan grew up in Hartford, Conn., knowing by age 5 that she wanted to be a doctor. The first member of her family to attend college, she completed medical school at the University of Vermont and immediately became a star.

While training in pediatric cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, she coined the term “hypoplastic left heart syndrome” and wrote the first description of the congenital cardiac defect.

Later, after joining the faculty at the University of Iowa, she noticed that many children with certain congenital heart problems also demonstrated genetic characteristics such as short stature. Her description of the phenomenon became known as Noonan syndrome and now is recognized worldwide.

At UK from the beginning

By the early ’60s, Noonan probably could have landed a job at any big medical center in the country. Instead, she came to Lexington in early 1961 to join a fledgling medical school at UK.

At that time, no other pediatric cardiologist was practicing in Kentucky east of Louisville. Noonan immediately began criss-crossing Eastern Kentucky, evaluating children with congenital heart problems that had largely gone untreated.

One of her first patients was Pike County’s Margaret Schoolcraft, then 11, who had lived with heart trouble since birth. In 1962, Noonan admitted her to UK Hospital, as the first patient ever in the new facility. She had open-heart surgery a few days later.

Margaret Schoolcraft Bartley, now 55 and still living in Pike County, remembers that her family traveled to Lexington by Greyhound bus, and that Noonan “spoiled me rotten” while she was in the hospital.

“I still love Dr. Noonan to death,” she says.

Barbara Buntin of Jackson County was 16 when Noonan referred her for heart surgery at UK in 1964. Buntin’s son, Neal Buntin, later would became a patient of Noonan himself.

“Dr. Noonan knows me inside and out,” said Barbara Buntin, now 58. “Even today, if I have a question I still call her up. She’s so kind. Words can’t describe Dr. Noonan.”

Dr. Jamie Jacobs, a cardiologist in private practice in Lexington, says there are people like Buntin and Bartley all over Eastern Kentucky who might not have survived into adulthood if Noonan hadn’t been around to diagnose and treat their congenital heart problems.

Michael Karpf, UK’s vice president for health affairs, says medical students at were equally taken with Noonan’s relaxed manner and the willingness of the medical “superstar” to take time to talk and listen to them.

“People tend to just see this lady who works with first-year medical students and goes to clinics in Eastern Kentucky,” Karpf said. “Many don’t realize how important she has been on the national and international scene as a cardiologist. She’s a true pioneer.”

Noonan, who never married, says that as long as she feels well she wants to keep working and building the program she helped to start more than four decades ago.

“I found that people from Eastern Kentucky were wonderful, and if they trusted you they literally would put their lives in your hands,” she said. “I always took that as an enormous responsibility. And it was very rewarding to think that here was some child from a holler in Eastern Kentucky who now had a new heart valve in part because of something you did.”

Friday, Jul. 14, 2006

Odds scary, but attitude can help in cancer fight

First you get the cancer.

Then you do the math.

It’s a grim bit of calculus, but every survivor has to come up with his or her own solution.

What is my life expectancy? What are the chances of a recurrence? What are the probabilities of remission? The likelihood that I’ll have to go through all this again?

These are questions you don’t really want to ask. Some people don’t. But I’ve always been kind of a numbers guy, so it’s hard for me not to ask.

I have to admit, I didn’t like what I heard. But that’s probably pretty common, too.

It turns out I’ve officially got what amounts to a coin-flip chance of the darned stuff coming back in the next five years. All this chemotherapy only moves the statistical needle about 5 to 10 percentage points, according to the numbers.

The probabilities that doctors give you in a prognosis are derived from a series of studies about other patients with the same type and stage of cancer.

The thing to remember — you can call it a rationalization if you want — is that not one of those other patients is you.

Or me.

Are they non-smokers? Do they exercise as much as I do? Do they watch their diet and weight? Do they sing as much? Love their kids as much? Want to live as much? Ask questions as much? Grasp at straws as much?

No, they don’t, damn it. They’re different people.

As it says on the Lance Armstrong Foundation Web site: “Everyone responds to treatment differently, and it’s impossible to determine exactly how the treatment you received for cancer will affect you during your survivorship.”

The National Cancer Institute Web site says: “Survival rates are based on large groups of people. They cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.”

That’s the kind of thing I want to hear. Every individual is unique and our futures are not written in stone. And yet, the number sits there, gaining significance with each passing thought. A 50-50 chance, even odds. It just doesn’t sound all that good to someone who’s never been much of gambler. I want to do something to improve my chances, but what?

My oncologist says all we can do is be vigilant. Get the CAT scans regularly, watch and wait. There are clinical trials that are looking at prevention, he says, but there is no conclusion as to whether they do any good.

Note to self: Find ways to cheat these odds. You’re a reporter, so start reporting on the options.

Everyone seems to think it really helps to have a good attitude about this. So, OK, I’m pretty good at good attitude.

Besides, it would be a criminal waste of perfectly good life to spend it with a bad attitude. It makes no sense and does no one any good to spend the time worrying about what’s to come.

I don’t want to seem like some fool whistling past the graveyard. I want to know the facts. But when the real facts of my prognosis are essentially unknowable, I’m going to polish that future up and make it shine!

So here’s my solution to this cancer math: I’m not a smoker, I exercise like crazy and live a healthy lifestyle. My chances are much better than 50-50, and I’m gonna beat this.

Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2006

Nursing a miracle, growing new hope

The yelp that comes from the medical station is indignant and ear-piercing.

It’s the shriek of a little boy who doesn’t like needles. But it’s a healthy cry, not a whimper.

Namatullah is six years old and, thanks to the compassion of Canadians — troops in the field and civilians at home — chances are he’ll live to be seven … eight … nine … however long a lifetime he has coming to him in a country of such unpredictability.

A month ago, Namatullah’s grandfather, in a last desperate act to save a dying child, walked five kilometres from his home in an impoverished section of Kandahar city, and threw himself at the mercy of Canadian soldiers at Camp Nathan Smith.

From outside the wire, he’d appealed for help from a sentry in the guard post. With approval from the base commander, they were searched and allowed entry, then taken to Capt. Adrian Norbash’s clinic, where the Canadian doctor examined the putrid mass of tumour and infection that covered the child’s entire right cheek and crept down his neck.

The immediate diagnosis was grim: Lymphatic cancer in an advanced stage, likely spreading into the liver, perhaps a month left to live.

Namatullah was in acute pain — his face, his abdomen. It hurt to speak and few words were uttered.

Norbash suggested the best that could be done for the boy was to alleviate his suffering by getting him to a palliative ward where nurses could ease his exit from life with powerful painkillers.

But, oh, look at him now.

A little spacey from the morphine shot that Norbash has just administered, his big brown eyes nevertheless take in everything with an avid curiosity. He smiles. He waves at a photographer’s camera. He clutches a roll of candy that Lieut.-Col. Tom Doucette has just pressed into his palm.

He speaks.

He lives.

Most remarkable is the physical transformation. Gone is most of the vivid purple growth of tissue that was once the size of a tennis ball. All that’s left is a welt the size of a silver dollar and that should fade in time.

One small six-year-old miracle in a land of tender hopes.

“This is really gratifying,” says an emotional Norbash, himself a Canadian of Persian descent. “It’s better than I could ever have hoped for.”

Who could have imagined this just four weeks ago, when even the cost of palliative care at a Karachi hospital — at $100 a day — was prohibitively beyond the family’s means?

It was pity that spurred Cpl. Brian Sanders, the base’s ambulance driver and a man crazy about kids, to email a photo of Namatullah to his church back in Edmonton, asking the pastor to raise donations.

At the North Edmonton Christian Fellowship Church, the response was swift and overwhelmingly generous.

“At the early Sunday service they raised $3,000,” says Sanders proudly. “And the later service, they raised another $7,000.”At last count, there was $18,000 in the kitty, intended originally for palliative care at a hospital in Pakistan. But there was also fierce praying and maybe that made a difference.

Rather than merely pumping him full of painkillers, the hospital administered aggressive chemotherapy treatments and the tumour rapidly shrunk away. The secondary cancer that had spread to Namatullah’s abdomen also responded to the therapy.

“He doesn’t appear to have an infection of the tumour remnant,” said Norbash after examining the boy yesterday. “He doesn’t have a fever. Really, it’s amazing.

“If it had been any other type of tumour than the one it was, nothing could have been done.”

The child first became ill about six months ago and his grandfather turned everywhere for help, endlessly turned away as a lost cause. (The boy’s father is an opium addict, with his own heap of woes.) But the grandfather, Taj Mohammad — once a commander in the Afghan army who spent years driving out the invading Russians, then years more fighting the Taliban — would not concede defeat.

That’s when he turned to the Canadians at Camp Nathan. They fell in love with the boy and so, clearly, did Canadians when they learned of his plight from a CTV report.

Said a grateful Mohammad yesterday, after bringing the boy to the base: “In three decades of war, this is the first time someone has helped us.”

The chemotherapy treatments will continue for the next six months, with the boy travelling between Kandahar and Lahore. While in this area, Norbash will keep a protective eye on the child, seeing him every few days, to monitor his response to the treatments. The hospital bill will be paid by the Edmonton church and Norbash is donating his services.

Namatullah is not completely out of the woods. But the chance of his survival now are about 70 per cent. Put your money on this beautiful little boy. Sometimes, there are happy endings.

Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2006

Millionaire offers to pay for cancer drug after daughter’s appeal to MP

A millionaire businessman has offered to pay for a woman’s cancer treatment after her 10-year-old daughter wrote a moving letter to her MP begging for his help.

Susan Morgan, 41, was diagnosed with breast cancer but told by her primary care trust that she would have to pay £47,000 if she wanted the “wonder drug” Herceptin because it would not fund it.

Mrs Morgan was also aggrieved that neighbouring counties, in Wrexham and Staffordshire, offer the drug on the NHS.

The situation prompted Mrs Morgan’s daughter, Katie, to write to her local MP, Owen Paterson, asking for help, saying she, her two sisters and young brother “would like my mum to be here when we grow up”.

She said she had even started to sell eggs from her farm to raise money for the treatment.

After The Daily Telegraph publicised her case, an anonymous benefactor agreed to foot the bill.

Yesterday Mrs Morgan’s husband, Rob, said: “Obviously we are over the moon, it’s an extremely generous act.

“We will be continuing the fight for the six or so other women who have been refused Herceptin to have it made available on the NHS.”

Katie also thanked the benefactor and many others who have chipped in with donations since her letter was made public.

But while the family are delighted, they are also angry that they have had to rely on someone else’s generosity and feel that the Government should introduce a uniform policy on the drug’s availability.

Mrs Morgan, from Coton, near Whitchurch, Shrops, was diagnosed with the HER2 form of breast cancer last May. It is one of the 20 per cent of breast cancers treatable with Herceptin, which is said to halve the chances of the cancer returning.

She received radiotherapy and is currently in remission, and was keen to have a course of Herceptin to prevent the cancer returning.

If she had lived two miles further west, over the Welsh border, the treatment would have been free with the Wrexham health board.

Shropshire PCT, which covers Coton, refuses to offer Herceptin until it is licensed, which is expected to be later this year, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Mr Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, said: “I’m delighted for the Morgan family but it is a disgrace that they, as taxpayers who contribute to the NHS, had to fight for potentially life-saving treatment that is available for free should they live two miles away in Wales.

“There is a uniform tax system, and so there should be a uniform system when it comes to the availability of treatment.”

Monday, Jan. 23, 2006

Hope for young MS victims

Four doctors examined Melissa Harris before she got the correct diagnosis for her double vision: pediatric multiple sclerosis.

That was two years ago. After many visits to the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs Neurological Institute, in Buffalo General Hospital, and treatment that included chemotherapy and now a disease-modifying drug called Rebif, the Fredonia 15-year-old is holding her own.

“My balance is a little off, but not by much,” she said.

A $1.8 million grant announced Thursday will give Melissa and kids like her improved access to the latest research and remedies. UB will use the money from the National Neurological Multiple Sclerosis Society to establish the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence at Women and Children’s Hospital.

It will be one of six comprehensive pediatric MS centers nationwide.

A progressive disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis is commonly perceived as an illness affecting young to middle-aged adults. But improved diagnostic tools have revealed that 8,000 to 10,000 American children under 18 have it, and as many as 15,000 more may have symptoms.

This is of particular concern in Western New York, which has the nation’s second-highest incidence of adult MS: 160 cases per 100,000 population versus 50 cases per 100,000 nationwide.

Area children presumably are affected at roughly the same rate as adults, though there is not enough data to confirm that suspicion, said Melissa’s specialist, Dr. Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, director of the Jacobs Institute’s Baird MS Center. Weinstock-Guttman also will direct the new Pediatric MS Center.

Until about 50 years ago, children with MS were usually diagnosed with some other neurological illness. “It was typically under the pediatrician’s radar screen,” said Deborah Hertz of the local MS Society chapter.

The Women and Children’s clinic will help UB investigators expand the knowledge base and better diagnose and treat children with the disease.

The program will build on the legacy of Dr. Lawrence Jacobs, the late UB researcher and clinician who pioneered treatments that dramatically improved the lives of adults with MS, said Dr. David L. Dunn, UB vice president for health sciences.

“Now UB will be able to do the same for children,” he said.

The center will treat children who have MS and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. Physical therapy and rehabilitation services will be included. The program will also educate primary care physicians and families of patients about symptoms and treatment options, and seek to advance clinical and basic research on the diseases.

Other regional pediatric MS centers are at Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham, Stony Brook University Hospital, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of California in San Francisco.

When Melissa was diagnosed at 13, her parents, Linda and Scott Harris, were stunned. There is no cure for MS.

But since the Fredonia Central High School sophomore began injecting herself with Rebif, one of a group of drugs called beta-interferons, her symptoms have not worsened. “She’s doing wonderfully,” her mother said. “She’s a trouper.”

Sunday, Jun. 12, 2005

Cancer center plans expansion

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute plans to invest as much as $73 million to expand services in Metro Detroit in a bid to increase early screening and treatment of cancer, one of the nation’s leading causes of death.

The plans include a $50 million expansion of the institute’s main treatment facility at the Detroit Medical Center in downtown Detroit and a $3 million add-on to its Lawrence and Idell Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills.

The institute will also build two new regional cancer centers in Oakland and Monroe counties at a cost of $7 million to $10 million each.

“The earlier we can detect cancer, the better chances a patient has for surviving cancer,” Dr. John C. Ruckdeschel, president of the Karmanos institute, told The Detroit News. “Our patient volumes are growing between 10 and 13 percent per month over last year, and we need the added room to meet the demand.”

The projects would create several hundred new jobs while offering patients faster service and speedier test results.

Patients who may have waited days for results from blood tests, biopsies and X-rays will usually be able to get answers on the same or next day, said Dr. Jeffrey Zonder, a medical oncologist who serves on a Karmanos team that treats blood cancers. Additional space for clinics and labs, as well as having more doctors available, will make it possible.

“That’s what’s happening at the very best centers in the country,” Zonder said. “If it’s not same-day service, it’s same-week service.”

Fast results are critical in treating aggressive cancers, as well as in calming patients, he said.

They’re also important to attracting out of-town patients, many of whom don’t want to be away from home for long. Richard Swift and his wife, Mitzi, were at Karmanos on Thursday for tests to determine the severity of a blood cancer likely circulating through Richard Swift’s body.

Swift, who lives in Hawaii, was diagnosed in May with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks the blood and bone marrow.

The couple was planning to visit Mitzi Swift’s family in Lansing this month, so they decided to get a second opinion at Karmanos. There, they learned that he most likely has a less severe form of blood cancer.

Getting answers fast has helped the couple cope with the ordeal.

“You’re out there wondering what’s in the future,” Richard Swift said. “It’s important to know things quickly.”

In Detroit, the expansion project would create a cancer-specific surgical and diagnostic pavilion, which would provide patients and their families with full screening and treatment facilities. Retail space and a level of underground parking will be added to the new facility, to be built in front of the institute’s headquarters on John R, near Canfield. The suburban additions will make getting care more convenient for thousands of people who live outside Detroit but must drive into the city for basic services.

Science will also get a boost.

“Research will be a main component of our expansion,” Ruckdeschel said. “We want to draw more full-time specialists in cancer research and treatment.”

The institute has hired Rossetti Associates Architects in Southfield to design the Detroit expansion.

Several million dollars have already been raised for the expansion effort, largely through philanthropy. The institute plans to announce its fund-raising goals within the next year, Ruckdeschel said.

“We’d like to start construction on our Detroit expansion within a year and have it done in three years,” he said. The suburban facilities will be pursued under roughly the same time frame.

Being able to have more centralized services was part of the motive behind Karmanos’ decision to separate from the DMC last year.

On most days, the Farmington Hills Weisberg center is packed with patients and doctors from various fields trying to avoid the crowded space they share in the heart of Karmanos’ building on the DMC’s campus.

The Karmanos institute cares for more than 6,000 new patients annually and has an annual budget of $200 million. The 1,200-person staff includes 300 faculty members from Wayne State University’s Medical School and is assisted by hundreds of volunteers.

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