A HIGH-TECH operating theatre for bowel cancer patients which has just opened at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital is the â€œmost advanced in western Europeâ€, according to consultant surgeon Eoghan Condon.
And opening the Stryker iSuite theatre this Monday, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan marvelled at the fact that the technology had been supplied by a company based just down the road in Raheen. It will in most cases obviate the need for high-risk and invasive surgical procedures for colo-rectal patients.
Colo-rectal cancers are the fourth most common in Ireland, with around 2,300 new diagnoses a year, and are more likely to affect males.
The new operating theatre is the latest initiative of the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust - a charity that has spent â‚¬17 million on hospital buildings and equipment in the region since 1986 - and has been delivered for an undisclosed six-figure sum with the support of the JP McManus Charitable Foundation.
Mr Condon said the iSuite â€œrepresents a huge leap forward for us in terms of being able to perform minimally invasive bowel surgery in almost every patient who presents to us; people who in the past may have been turned down for surgery because of the trauma of the operation.â€
They could now have keyhole surgery done and be discharged within three or four days. And Mr Condon said that keeping such patients out of intensive care or high dependency units would minimise infection risk.
And faster recovery from surgical procedures brings the added advantage that adjuvant cancer therapies like chemotherapy and radiotherapy can commence sooner.
â€œThe development of a fully integrated theatre iSuite,â€ said a spokesperson for the hospital, â€œwill allow surgeons perform this type of surgery on all colorectal patients in the Mid-Western region. The new system will improve outcomes, reduce morbidity and allow patients who may previously have been refused surgery to be treated at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital to world-class standards. The iSuite will also enable broadcasting and video conferencing to anywhere in the world using Strykerâ€™s SwitchPoint infinity system. Stryker is a leader in integrated theatres throughout the world. The system has been installed by Sisk Healthcare, trading as Tekno Surgical.â€
Teknoâ€™s regional sales manager Dave Culligan said the company was delighted to be associated with what was the first voice-activated operating theatre in Ireland.
â€œAs part of the Sisk Group we can design, build and supply such innovative solutions to hospitals throughout Ireland. This development is already creating a great deal of interest around the country,â€ Mr Culligan said.
And Ann Doherty, chief executive officer of the Mid-Western Regional Hospitals Group, commented: â€œThis is an exciting time for acute hospital services in the region. Without the work of the Development Trust, acute hospital services would be lagging far behind international standards but now we are moving into a new era where our hospitals will stand comparison with the best.â€
Over almost 30 years now, the trust has provided hospital facilities and equipment to benefit patients from across the Mid-West in the areas of cardiac services, cancer treatment, radiology, orthopaedics, intensive care, urology, ophthalmology, neurology, renal medicine, respiratory conditions and dermatology.
Work is continuing on an ambitious construction project at the Regional which the trust is delivering along with two other charities - the Parkinsonâ€™s Association and TLC4CF.
This â‚¬13 million, six-storey unit is again being supported by the McManus Foundation - through the proceeds of the Pro-Am golf tournament in Adare - and is due to open next year, providing new and improved services for breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, dermatological, stroke and other neurological patients.