For most women, a trip to the Newton Medical Center Women’s Diagnostic Center is not a joyous occasion. However, all residents of the county, whether women or men, should rejoice at the facility being so close to home.
Thursday the center’s employees and guests celebrated its 10th anniversary with cake, punch and guided tours of the facility.
WDC Director Lisa McWilliams said that the center was unique for a hospital the size of Newton Medical because it employed some of the most advanced medical imaging equipment money could buy.
"It took two years for the Auxiliary to raise $500,000 for the digital mammography equipment," McWilliams said, "but they did it."
The equipment was installed in 2007, said McWilliams, when only 11 percent of hospitals in the country used digital machines.
"Now about 45 percent use the digital equipment, so we’re still pretty state-of-the-art," McWilliams said.
Because digital equipment does not require the development of film to examine images it has reduced patient wait times as well as increased the amount of patients WDC employees can see in a day. The images also are much more detailed, so radiologists can detect any abnormalities more easily, making the need for second visits rare.
Along with the digital mammography equipment came advanced MRI software. Breast Radiologist Amanda F. Bauer of Quantum Medical Radiology allowed guests to examine images with her showing them how she had a total view of the breast and explaining how the previous year’s images automatically appeared making comparison of the new images seamless.
"I read MRIs from a lot of different places," said Bauer, "and these are definitely the best."
The WDC also houses the Hope Boutique, a feature that really sets the center apart from others. The Boutique was set up by Auxiliary volunteer and breast cancer survivor Kay Goff for women undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
"We fit them with special bras, prosthesis, wigs, lap quilts," Goff said, "and a lot of hugs and counseling."
She said the items offered in the boutique are free of charge and available to any women whether she is a resident of Newton County or another area. A second goal of the boutique, apart from making cancer therapy patients more comfortable and confident physically, is to encourage them to join one of the hospital’s cancer support groups.
"We have a 26-year survivor of stage IV cancer in one of our groups," Goff said, "and that really helps the new babies see that this process is doable."
For more information on the Newton Medical Center Women’s Diagnostic Center, call (770) 385-7820.