In this episode of the Mercy Health Medical Minute on 700WLW, Mike McConnell interviews Vince DiNapoli, M.D., Ph.D. They discuss the groundbreaking brain tumor treatment at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health Brain Tumor Center.
Mike McConnell: So, the Brain Center at Jewish Hospital in Kenwood is new. Is it maybe just a year or so old? Or how old?
Dr. DiNapoli: So, yeah, we’ve been developing it starting about three years ago. But we had our official opening last June – so about a year.
Mike McConnell: And, how would this be different than what you had three years ago when you began talking about it?
Dr. DiNapoli: We’ve been working over the last three years to develop, basically, a center of excellence within the Mercy Health System and for the Cincinnati Southwest Region. A center related to the care of brain tumor patients specifically.
“We’ve put a large investment both in recruitment and technology.”
Mike McConnell: Are there capabilities you have now that you didn’t have before? Or capabilities you have there that maybe other treatment centers would not have?
Dr. DiNapoli: Yes, we’ve put a large investment both in recruitment of people as well as capital investments in the technology.
Mike McConnell: So, it’s a bit of a dream team in that regard?
Dr. DiNapoli: It has been, yes. The care of these types of patients requires a sort-of multidisciplinary team. We have physicians and a whole group of people that are experts in various specialties, specialties that are required to take care of these complex cases.
Mike McConnell: Well, I guess people think, “brain center,” and that one person can handle any part of the brain. There are specialties within the subspecialties?
Dr. DiNapoli: Yes, there are. And, also, just different areas. There are neurosurgeons, like myself, who specialize in different areas of neurosurgery. But there are radiation oncologists and medical oncologists too. We also have a very experienced group of nurses that take care of these patients while they’re in the hospital and people that take care of them in the operating room. So, it’s an entire team of people, really, that come together having a focus on specialized care.
Mike McConnell: Now I don’t know, but it would seem to me that those procedures would require longer-term hospital stays. Yes or no?
Dr. DiNapoli: Some do. But actually, you’d be surprised. A lot of our brain tumor patients are in the hospital anywhere from two to three days. The pain from this type of surgery is not too terrible. So, our patients do go home pretty quickly most of the time.
Mike McConnell: Is there any such thing as outpatient brain surgery?
Dr. DiNapoli: Ha-ha, we haven’t gotten quite there yet. Maybe next day… We have some who go home next day.
“The patient gets a multi-disciplinary opinion in one place.”
Mike McConnell: So, the group you have together there, would you consider it to be almost a dream team?
Dr. DiNapoli: I do, yeah. I think we have a really great group of people now. Together, we meet once a week to review cases during something called a “tumor board.” So, the board meets and reviews all the cases we have for the week and gives opinions. And, that way, the patient gets a multi-disciplinary opinion from all these different subspecialties in one place. They don’t have to go to multiple places to get that.
Mike McConnell: That’s fantastic. So, what impact would you say you’ve had so far? I mean, after a year, is it everything you were hoping the center would be?
Dr. DiNapoli: I think we’re getting there. Obviously, we always want to strive to be better and continue to build the center. The Mercy Health system has centralized their care for patients with brain tumors to that one place, so all Mercy hospitals bring patients there. They transfer them in from all over the city.
I think the development of the operating room and the technology that we have there has been what we’ve hoped for. We’ve had a great partnership with Mayfield, OHC [Oncology Hematology Care, Inc.] and Mercy Health to really develop the center in a way that I think has been positive.
Learn more about the Brain Tumor Treatment services offered by Mercy Health.