Jewish Hospital Joins Surgery on Sunday Program

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LOUISVILLE Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, has joined the Surgery on Sunday program to provide essential outpatient procedures for free to those in need.

The inaugural event in Louisville kicked off on Sunday, August 18, 2013 when approximately 12 patients received colonoscopies at the Jewish Hospital Outpatient Care Center Endoscopy Unit. Subsequent events will be held periodically throughout the year. Jewish Hospital in Louisville is the fourth in the nation to participate.

Surgery on Sunday, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides essential outpatient surgical services for free for those in need who cannot afford insurance and who are not eligible for federal or state programs. Patients are referred from existing organizations in the community and receive much needed surgical procedures.

For income-eligible patients with no health insurance, all services and supplies— from the pre-operative visit with a volunteer surgeon, to the imaging studies, to the medications needed before and after surgery, to physical therapy, to the post-operative appointment—are free.

Surgery on Sunday is completely volunteer-driven and all of the professionals who assist at the hospital—surgeons, anesthesiologists, certified nursing assistants, nursing staff, administration, and others— donate their time and expertise for the procedures. Approximately 30 volunteers were on hand to make Surgery on Sunday a success for patients.

“Too many people in our community do not have adequate medical coverage, which makes receiving basic outpatient medical procedures like a colonoscopy out of reach,” said Erica Sutton, MD, University Surgical Associates and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, who spearheaded the effort to bring Surgery on Sunday to Louisville.

In addition to Sutton, Whitney Jones, MD, a gastroenterologist with Midwest Gastroenterology Associates, and Russell Williams, MD, a general surgeon with Associates in General Surgery, performed procedures for the inaugural Surgery on Sunday at Jewish Hospital.

“By volunteering a few hours on a Sunday, we can help fill an important need for care in our community,” said Williams.

A colonoscopy is an important screening tool for the prevention of colorectal cancer. Kentucky has the second highest rate of colorectal cancer in the nation. Data from the Kentucky Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reports that only 63 percent of Kentuckians at risk for colon cancer have been screened for the disease.

“I am passionate about the prevention of colorectal cancer and am so pleased to begin Surgery on Sunday with colonoscopy procedures,” said Jones, who founded the Colon Cancer Prevention Project. “If we can help more individuals in need receive a critical procedure at no cost and keep them from missing work, we are eliminating barriers to care and potentially saving lives.”

The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50–75. For African-Americans, screening should begin earlier, at age 45.

Saint Joseph Hospital, also part of KentuckyOne Health, has participated in Surgery on Sunday since 2005. It was the first hospital to open its doors to the program.

To learn more about Surgery on Sunday, visit www.surgeryonsunday.org.