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Cancer patients given drive-up option for treatment

Posted at 11:38 PM, May 15, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Cancer patients at Spectrum Health now have the chance to receive treatment without ever leaving their cars.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the Spectrum Health Cancer Center recently introduced a new service to its cancer patients. Located at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in downtown Grand Rapids, cancer patients can now receive “drive-thru” port care from the Spectrum Health cancer specialists.

The drive-thru option is not for chemotherapy or longer treatments that may take hours. It is for routine and common oncology services that come with chemotherapy or radiation treatment. For instance, it could include receiving follow-up shots or flushing out ports used for additional injections.

On Friday, Judith Hull came for her second drive-thru treatment, receiving a type of shot that boosts white blood cells, in turn promoting immunity. It's an important step in the process following Hull's chemotherapy treatment.

Hull was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February, and is now finally coming towards the end of treatment. The new option has been beneficial with the chemotherapy making it difficult for her to walk.

"It's more tiresome for me than just having to pull in here, you know, and have the shot right here in my car," said Hull.

The idea was founded by a team at the Lemmon-Holton Cancer Pavilion.

A nurse came up with the idea when a patient expressed concern about receiving treatment near an urgent care center in the hospital.

"So she was concerned that she was going into the building during a pandemic where everybody was going to get diagnosed, potentially with coronavirus," said Melissa Hibdon, Clinical Manager for Oncology Infusion Services at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion.

The nurses then made the idea into a reality with a mobile work station. The drive-thru port is currently located in the parking garage nearest the cancer pavilion on the level 'P2.'

"The important thing is to protect our cancer patients from anything that could harm them," said Hibdon. "When you don't have an immune system and you're on chemotherapy and a pandemic arises, can you even imagine the stress that would cause you on top of being on chemotherapy? So we just, we had to make it happen."

If you're a cancer patient and would like to learn more about how you can access this resource, you can call (855)-SH-CANCER.