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St. Michael’s leads as endoscopy expert

Toronto, October 11, 2013

By Patricia Favre

Dr. Gary May performs an endoscopy at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Dr. Gary May performs an endoscopy at St. Michael’s Hospital. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

For years, St. Michael’s has been the only hospital in Ontario to offer a full range of advanced endoscopic services.

Other hospitals in Ontario and even from across Canada send their most challenging gastrointestinal cases to St. Michael’s.

Currently, St. Michael’s and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre are working together to establish rapid diagnosis and coordinated care to pancreatic cancer patients, a group that is considered high risk.

“St. Michael’s and Princess Margaret have worked together for a long time,” said Dr. Gary May, acting head of gastroenterology at St. Michael’s. “But with the evolution of this new pancreatic cancer centre at Princess Margaret, we’re hoping to further reduce wait times for high risk patients without impacting our less urgent cases.”

In addition to providing a diagnosis, endoscopy at St. Michael’s can also offer treatment. The hospital’s Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy Centre is one of the largest and most advanced in Canada, treating more than 15,000 patients a year.

“The program also is recognized as one of the premier endoscopic centres in the world for training in advanced therapeutic endoscopy,” said Dr. May. “Since the 1980s we have trained physicians from all over the world. Today, our fellows have moved on to be experts in facilities such as the Mayo Clinic and Chicago’s Northwestern University.”

Therapeutic endoscopy is the treatment of choice for a growing number of problems, such as removing polyps or early-stage cancers, stopping internal bleeding, relieving blockages and providing palliative care for patients with late-stage cancer. It is a minimally invasive procedure, meaning no incision is required and patients have shorter hospital stays and recovery times. This week, doctors from St. Michael’s will play host to more than 300 physicians, nurses and students from around the world taking part in the 26th International Course on Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy.

The three-day course, considered to be the most sophisticated live educational program of its kind, will feature live endoscopic procedures beamed in real time to the conference and to a satellite meeting in Vancouver.

International experts will demonstrate and teach the latest therapeutic endoscopy techniques, treatments and assessments.

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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