Hospital’s goal: Digital mammography by 2011

13 years ago

Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
FS-HlthSvcsFdtn1-dclr-pt-43FILM VS. DIGITAL — Jim Madix, M.D., chief of radiology at Houlton Regional Hospital points to the sharper, more clearly defined digital mammography image compared to the film image from another mammogram. Sue McLaughlin, RTR is the hospital’s radiology manager and Tom Moakler is CEO. A campaign is being mounted to raise nearly $200,000 to purchase a digital enhancement for the current equipment.

By Elna Seabrooks
Staff Writer

    HOULTON — Women in the Houlton area can look forward to state-of-the-art digital mammograms in about a year because the Health Services Foundation has set a goal of raising nearly $200,000 to upgrade its current film mammography equipment manufactured under the trade name Sophie by PlanMed.
    Pointing to the difference between film and digital images, Jim Madix, M.D., chief of radiology at Houlton Regional Hospital (HRH), said that the best images are now done digitally: “There is less radiation for the patient. It’s faster, more sensitive and it detects cancer earlier than conventional film screening. And, early detection is important.”
    Sue McLaughlin, RTR is the radiology manager who added that upgrading the hospital’s current equipment will be more convenient for area residents. HRH sees some 2,500 patients annually. But, the hospital, she said, has lost some who now go to Bangor because they prefer digital screenings.
    McLaughlin also stated that digital images, as opposed to film, can be blown up for closer scrutiny, especially in the case of women with dense breasts. “This will absolutely be a benefit to the community. And, breast cancer has touched a lot of people because everyone in the community knows someone who has had breast cancer,” she said.
    Elizabeth Dulin, executive director of the Foundation and her board of trustees met last week at HRH and were able to see first-hand the differences between regular film images and digital images. “We have to raise that $200,000. The diamond raffle was the first fundraising event to kickoff the ‘Enhancing Sophie Campaign,’” Dulin said.
Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
FS-HlthSvcsFdtnDulin-dclr-pt-43DIME AND PIN — Elizabeth Dulin, executive director of the Health Services Foundation, sports a ‘Diamond Pin.’ The popular annual raffle is the first fund-raising event of the Health Services Foundation.

    “In 2001, the Foundation donated $75,000 for Sophie which was then, the newest and latest in mammography. Almost 10 years later, the technology has moved ahead and the foundation is kicking off this campaign to get a digital enhancement which we should have by September or October 2011,” explained Tom Moakler, the hospital’s CEO.
    Moakler said the hospital is looking for widespread community support, even employees who are able to join the campaign. Dulin is working with her board of trustees and will reach out to businesses, corporations and grant-making bodies in addition to the general public for support of special events.
    “Of course, there’s the diamond raffle we just kicked off. That’s a big one,” said Dulin referring to tickets for a chance to win two different diamond rings and other prizes. She also said the golf tournament in the summer will be reprised and there is the possibility of some creative partnerships.
    In a lighthearted moment, Dulin acknowledged that in these tough economic times, raising so much money won’t be easy but, “after the $1,000,000 nuclear medicine campaign, $200,000 isn’t too bad.”
    Robert Ellis, O.D., president of the Foundation’s board of trustees, expressed his sentiments about the campaign saying: “It certainly behooves the whole community in and around Houlton for us to provide excellent services which this new enhancement to Sophie will provide. Breast cancer is such a big issue for all of us. We either have family members or friends we know that this has touched severely. It has impacted our lives.”