Cancer center officially opens
STATE-OF-THE-ART EQUIPMENT – Gina Conner, left, chief radiation therapist, and Peggy Eakes, radiation therapist, demonstrate the Varian EX Accelerator on Ann Weddington, the marketing director at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center. Commonly known as a liner accelerator, the machine produces a radiation beam to cure cancer or to ease the pain and symptoms of cancer. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
A long-awaited ribbon cutting ceremony will take place today to officially open the Jeff Anderson Regional Cancer Center.
Dr. John Clay, medical oncologist, said work to make the center a reality began about five years ago to offer all aspects of patient services in one convenient location.
He said he is impressed with the Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center's commitment to turning a dream into a reality a 45,000 square-foot, two-story, cancer center with a price tag of more than $12 million.
The center first opened about one year ago with patients who were seen on the center's second floor, which is occupied by Meridian Oncology Associates including Clay, Dr. Jack Halbrook, Dr. Dwight Keady, Dr. David Nix and the doctors' staff.
Meridian Oncology has a laboratory, X-ray area and a 24-station chemotherapy suite with recliners, personal television sets and curtains that can be pulled for privacy.
The first floor of the center is the radiation therapy department.
The radiation oncology team, which includes physicians, a licensed nurse practitioner, nursing staff, radiation therapists and a treatment planning staff, is led by Dr. Scott Anderson, radiation oncologist.
The department has three linear accelerators used for radiation treatments and a CT Scanner specially designed and enlarged to allow cancer patients to be viewed in positions they can't be put in for normal CT scans.
Wayne Herrington, administrative director of the cancer center, said the center has registered dietitians, social workers, pastoral counseling, oncology registry, support staff, a resource room with Internet access and a lending library.
The center also partners with the American Cancer Society to offer programs.
Titled "Standing Together," a sculpture of two children huddled closely together in the lobby of the cancer center symbolizes the center's pledge to stand with each of its patients, according to J.W. Jones, first vice president of Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center.