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11/24/2009 - New Cancer Center Serves Lake County Residents

A new era of patient-centered cancer treatment for Lake County residents has begun with the opening of St. Helena Hospital’s new Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center. 

 “We offer world-class care and technology and three types of oncology in one convenient location. But what will set us apart is how we have built the entire center around patients’ needs to give them and their families a positive, healing experience at a very difficult time in their lives,” said Gregory Smith, M.D., medical oncologist. As medical director, Dr. Smith leads a medical team that includes David Tate, M.D, radiation oncologist who trained and taught at Stanford University Medical Center, and Pedro Ramirez, M.D., surgical oncologist who trained at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


The cancer center occupies a 12,500-square-foot floor of the new Johnson Pavilion building, which also houses a state-of-the-art surgery floor. The project was funded by community donations to a capital campaign that raised $28.2 million.


Everything in One Place

“Even in our nation’s best cancer treatment centers, patients must navigate a distressing maze of buildings, labs and medical offices–even drive across town–for consultations, tests, evaluations, treatment, prescriptions and follow-up care,” said St. Helena Hospital President/CEO Terry Newmyer. “We designed our cancer center to provide convenient, centralized care. Patients and their families are literally steps away from everything they need to navigate the healing process, and we will continue St. Helena Hospital’s philosophy of whole-person health care to address the physical, mental and spiritual needs of every patient.”


Medical Expertise & USCF Affiliation

“We have recruited a highly experienced team of cancer specialists,” said Newmyer. “Our nurses are oncology-certified, and our physicians are all board-certified in their specialties and have extensive experience working with the latest technologies and treatment for cancer care.”


The Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center also has established a formal affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center that provides patients access to clinical research trials from a convenient Napa Valley location and express referrals to cancer sub-specialists. The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the nation’s largest clinical and research cancer and is designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.


State of Art Radiation Therapy

The technological showpiece of the Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center is a $2.8-million Varian linear accelerator–found in only a handful of the nation’s top cancer centers–featuring Intensive Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radio-Therapy (IGRT) that shapes radiation beams with pinpoint accuracy to target tumor cells and spare healthy surrounding tissue.


The Patient Experience: A Lesson from the Hospitality Industry

In designing the Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center, St. Helena Hospital borrowed a page from the hospitality industry, setting a goal of creating a comfortable, positive patient experience focused on complete, whole-person care and support services, including a dedicated care team for each patient that includes a nurse navigator, a patient guide, and specialists in nutrition, exercise, and psychosocial and spiritual counseling.

Cynthia Cantril, RN, an oncology-certified nurse navigator with 30 years of experience in the field, coordinates each patient’s treatment plan, working with their personal physician and oncology specialist. This begins before the patient arrives for their first appointment. The nurse navigator also assists patients with scheduling treatments and provides information about treatment options and support services.

The key, patient-centered features of the cancer center include:


  • The medical oncology and multi-station chemotherapy suite was designed to accommodate family and friends and overlooks a healing garden. Patients and families tested and selected the chairs used in room.

  • The restoration and therapy spa incorporate massage, yoga, relaxation and other therapies to address patients’ emotional and spiritual well-being.

  • The retail boutique features products specific to the needs of cancer patients as well gift items and a gift registry.

  • The cancer resource library is staffed by a specialist who assists patients, families and community members with gathering information about cancer treatments.

 A Message of Hope

Patients and visitors to the Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center lobby are greeted by an uplifting, 13-foot-tall, steel and bronze sculpture–called the Hope Tree–that is adorned with delicate copper leaves. The artist carved 48 symbols of hope from around the world into the base that were chosen, in part, by hospital employees.


For information about the Martin-O’Neil Cancer Center at St. Helena Hospital, call 707-967-5721 or go online to www.NapaValleyCancerCare.org.

Source: St Helena Hospital Clearlake (St Helena Hospital Clearlake News)

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