Ceremony marks completion of Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, to open Oct. 5

Last modified: Thursday, September 17, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — After eight years of discussion, planning and fundraising, a ribbon-cutting was held Wednesday for the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

The same day, the state Department of Public Health approved the center’s opening. Its doors will open to patients on Oct. 5, according to Joanne Marqusee, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson.

“It is an amazing day for Cooley, for Mass General and for the dozens and hundreds of people really who worked to make this center a reality,” she said.

Wednesday’s event marks the end of construction of a 16,400-square-foot facility that will house an 18-chair infusion bay for patients receiving chemotherapy, two large nurses’ stations for patient monitoring, 10 exam rooms and a video-conferencing room for tele-consultations with Mass General Hospital Cancer Center physicians.

Dr. Sean Mullally, medical director of the new center, said that video-conferencing room has already been useful.

“We had three of our oncologists sitting in our beautiful new room with a huge TV, and we sat with several subspecialists who were sitting in Boston,” he said. “(We) presented our patients that couldn’t make it down to Boston for one reason or another.”

Mullally said he needed help coming up with a treatment plan for a specific patient who was too ill to drive to Mass General in Boston, and a subspecialist from that hospital was able to lead him to one.

“She’s going to begin a new course of treatment next week,” he said. “Without this center, that wouldn’t have happened.”

Dr. David Ryan, chief of hematology and oncology at Mass General Hospital, said that it is excited about the relationship with Cooley Dickinson.

“We need you because we can’t deliver the care in the community — people can’t drive back and forth all the time,” he said. “And you need us because we have the experts who know the difference between what’s going to give each and every patient the best chance at the best care.”

JoAnne Finck, fundraising campaign chairwoman, said that more than $3 million had been raised toward the center. She said there are still opportunities to give.

“Every gift supports the work of our talented and committed physicians and staff, or underwrites an important initiative of the new center,” she said.

Gifts can be given at https://givecdhc.partners.org/donate.

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz said cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, calling it a relentless disease.

“I’m sure nearly every person here can tell a personal story about how their family has been affected by cancer,” he said to the approximately 100 people at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I lost my father to cancer in 2002 and my mother is a breast cancer survivor.”

He congratulated the hospital administration, staff and donors who made the center a reality.

“While we can all hope for the day when cures for cancers various forms are found, I am grateful and proud that Northampton is now home to this beautiful new facility providing families battling this horrible disease with the best possible care available anywhere in our state, and the nation,” he said.

Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at deisen@gazettenet.com.


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