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April 7, 2020

St. John’s Health Foundation Approves Funding for Lung Cancer Diagnostic Equipment That Will Also Treat Covid-19 Patients


A new piece of equipment coming to St John’s Health, the Olympus EBUS or Endobronchial Ultrasound, will vastly improve diagnosis of cancer in the central airways and chest. It will also assist with treatment of Covid-19 patients. The device, which sends a camera and ultrasound through the airway and into the lung to spot and biopsy legions, will also treat patients with acute respiratory distress (ARDS) caused by Covid-19. The procedure, called Lavage, clears the lining of infected lungs, enabling patients to come off of ventilators and begin breathing on their own.

In the face of mounting statistics that the majority of Covid-19 patients who go on ventilators do not survive, this potential treatment is critical to St John’s arsenal of Covid-19 fighting weapons.

Long after the Covid-19 crisis is behind us, “the EBUS will also provide a superior and far less invasive diagnostic tool to spot and biopsy abnormal masses, enlarged lymph nodes and vessels,” according to Dr. Haven Malish, St. John’s Health newly recruited pulmonologist. Patients currently must go out of state to Idaho or Utah to have this procedure.

Dr. Malish is board-certified in sleep medicine and pulmonary disease. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Southern California along with fellowships in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Southern California and in sleep medicine at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education.

“Thanks to a quick vote of the St John’s Health Foundation Executive Committee Monday  morning, the equipment purchase, approximately $200,000, will be “fast tracked” in order to have it available for Covid-19 patients. Its long term application however, is part of St John’s Health goal of keeping our community closer to home for cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said hospital CEO Paul Beaupre.

“The Foundation continues to be so very grateful to our community for its response to this crisis. Their generosity is the reason we are able to act quickly to respond to the hospital’s urgent needs,” said Foundation President John Goettler.

An anonymous donor has stepped forward and offering a $50,000 challenge grant and has invited donors to pledge their financial support of the EBUS machine.

If you would like to make a financial contribution in support of the COVID-19 Employee Response Fund, please click here or contact John Goettler at 307/739-7516.


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