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HaysMed cancer institute gets new look




Hays Medical Center recently competed the remodel of Dreiling/Schmidt Cancer Center Institute.

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Hays Medical Center recently competed the remodel of Dreiling/Schmidt Cancer Center Institute.

The remodeled space is comprised of four additional treatment rooms and two additional exam rooms, as well as a patient library and a spacious image boutique.

Medical oncology and radiation oncology now are in the same location as opposed to being split.

"Some patients had to run from one place to another," said Dr. Babu Prasad, radiation oncologist. "Many patients need both radiation and chemotherapy, so it's nice for them both to be in one place."

The exam rooms have increased to allow for a greater number of patients.

"I expect to see more patients in the future," said Dr. January Fields, medical oncologist. "We've gotten a lot of new space and technology with the redesign."

Fields said patients seem to enjoy the new color scheme and modernized look.

"Patients seem to like it very much," she said. "The patients say the colors are very calming and therapeutic."

The renovated space is made to include room for a pharmacist.

"The pharmacist no longer has to mix treatment in the pharmacy and bring it here," Fields said. "Everything is much more convenient."

The Pyxis MedStation system also is given its own room. Pyxis is an automated dispensing system that is used to dispense supplies such as gloves and Kleenex.

"That technology didn't exist when the old cancer center was designed," Prasad said. "We're very happy about the new space."

Prasad said the new space eventually will allow for Stereotactic Radiation. Funding is not yet available since the technology would cost $4 million to implement, but Prasad estimates funds should be raised within the next year.

"Some patients receiving conventional treatment need it over a period of seven to nine weeks," he said. "With Stereotactic capabilities, we would be able to reduce the treatment time to one week. The patients receive large doses of radiation during a short period of time. Side effects are comparable to traditional treatment, but it's easier on the patient to not have to miss work for so long."

The treatment would cost more per week, but with the patient spending less time in the hospital, the cost might be less.

"Regular treatment may cost $60,000 for seven to nine weeks," Prasad said. "Stereotactic may only cost $23,000, so there is a considerable cost savings."

While the cancer center always has stored wigs, hats and scarves, the Image Boutique was expanded to include a more personable experience.

"The boutique is used for all lady cancer patients who need some type of head covering," said Stephanie Niblock, cancer service coordinator. "We've always had a wig room, but nothing this fancy."

The Image Boutique does not charge for any of the head coverings.

"There is no cost for any of this stuff," Niblock said. "Patients check it out, and once they don't need it, they bring it back."

In addition, the new space includes a central reception area, larger consultation areas, private treatment options and computers to occupy patients while receiving treatments.

The "Leaves of Life" sculpture also has been moved to a larger space. The oak and brass wall sculpture contains engraved leafs with names of those who have battled cancer.

It was created in 2007 by local artist James Mages. Leafs can be purchased for $250 each, and all funds raised go toward equipment, programs and services.