Scully-Welsh Cancer Center nears completion
The Scully-Welsh Cancer Center at the Indian River Medical Center is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, and the local hospital also hopes to have a new medical director in place to run it by then.
IRMC Marketing Director Lewis Clark recently gave a tour of the new, airy building in anticipation of a December opening, and said that interviews to hire a medical director are ongoing.
The search for a director began almost two years ago, with the hope that an oncologist from Duke Medicine – with which the Cancer Center is affiliated – would take the job. But so far, while the building of the center has progressed impressively, the recruiting of its Medical Director has not.
The challenge, say local doctors, is finding an academically-minded physician who is willing to leave a prestigious, well-established medical center – supported by a wide variety of oncological surgeons and other oncological medical specialists and academics – to come to the Indian River Medical Center, where no such support system currently exists.
Nevertheless, on a hot, muggy day last week, Clark was full of optimism about the 24,000-square-foot building, which combines broad expanses of glass for natural light with warm wooden porcelain tile and accents that resemble travertine and malachite to create a beautiful, inviting space.
“You can see that the interior is beginning to resemble the artist’s renderings, which is so exciting,” Clark said.
Speaking over the sound of drills and staple guns, he led visitors through the chemotherapy area which consists of individual rooms, the research library, the pharmacy and the nursing staff areas.
“It will be such a soothing and healing environment,” said the marketing director, pointing outside to what will soon be a tranquil garden of flowers and trees.
Meanwhile, insulated ductwork lay on the interior floor like great boa constrictors, blowing much-welcomed cool air throughout the two-story building.
“The key here is centralization,” said Clark, explaining that the new outpatient building will offer chemotherapy, radiation, a pharmacy, conference rooms and offices all in one space.
In the past, these services have been available at the hospital, but in different areas.
The beautiful new Scully-Welsh Cancer Center is expected to get most of its patients from independent local oncologists, who are likely to refer patients without insurance to the hospital for chemotherapy, rather than treat them in their own profitable chemotherapy infusion centers.
That way, the taxpayers, through the Hospital District, will pay a portion of the bills. “And some patients with insurance may also prefer to come here,” said Clark. “We also expect to attract patients from outside the county.”