City Hospital introduces expanded cancer center

July 13, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The "hot spot" for cancer patients in City Hospital's recently expanded oncology unit is an air conditioned sunroom, according to nurse manager Tammy Ware.

Comfortable sofas provide an alternative to treatment chairs and a dining table seats four. A plentiful selection of paperback novels by best-selling author Danielle Steele practically fill one shelf of a bookcase.

"They like that room. It's homey - that's what we want," Ware said after showing off enhancements to the second floor inpatient/outpatient unit celebrated Wednesday as part of an open house for West Virginia University Hospitals-East Regional Cancer Program.

An overflow crowd of business and community leaders gathered in the room Wednesday to celebrate the newly renamed program's advancements in the last year.


"It took a lot of support ... and there is great, great care being given as a result," WVUH-East CEO Roger M. Eitelman said before introducing three leading physicians involved in the program and recognizing the support of nine business leaders for their donations to the new outpatient center.

Since the program obtained three-year approval with commendation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons in July 2005, hospital officials have begun treating patients with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, a more precise, computer-assisted radiation treatment. The Commission's designation is given to facilities that voluntarily commit to providing the best in diagnosis and treatment, officials said.

The inpatient oncology unit also was expanded to 14 beds, including two private rooms.

In August, officials said they expect the unit to offer an additional diagnostic scanning service known as PET CT. The month after that, the medical director of the WVU-East Cancer Program expects to establish clinical trials for patients in conjunction with WVU's Mary Babb Randolph Center in Morgantown, W.Va.

The affiliation is expected to yield "very good things for us," said Dr. Timothy Bowers, who has been with City Hospital since 1979. The hospital merged with Jefferson Memorial Hospital and then joined WVU Hospitals to form WVU Hospitals-East in 2005.

In brief remarks, Bowers admitted he was a bit lonely as the only oncologist on staff at City Hospital until Terrence Reidy and Matthew P. Jones, also board-certified medical oncologists, arrived in the last few years. In November, Edward Kiggundu, a board-certified radiation oncologist, joined the cancer program staff.

Bowers also took the opportunity to publicly thank the oncology unit's staff.

"They are the unit. We thank them," Bowers said. "They're the ones that make this work."

The Herald-Mail Articles