GMC files plans to add $2.3M radiology unit

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett Medical Center has filed a certificate of need to add a backup interventional radiology unit to its hospital in Lawrenceville.

If approved by state health regulators that the project is necessary, the $2.3 million investment would allow the hospital to replace equipment and build out a new room for a second dedicated interventional radiology unit in Lawrenceville, spokeswoman Beth Okun said. The hospital has existing IR units in Duluth and Lawrenceville.

The project would be open by mid-2014, but the unit would not add staff, Okun said.

“This will provide us with two dedicated interventional radiology suites in Lawrenceville to support the needs of our inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients,” Okun said.

GMC-Lawrenceville is a level II trauma center, which means it treats trauma patients 24 hours a day with trauma surgeons, specially-trained nurses and a trauma registry with access to equipment and operating rooms.

The equipment used in this unit is for patients who experienced blunt force that caused bleeding, such as a pelvic fracture, for example, Okun said. While trauma surgeons often use the equipment for embolizations — a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure performed by interventional radiologists to control bleeding — it’s also used in oncology, pulmonology and emergency medicine.

“As the technology has evolved, more and more medical conditions have benefited from access to interventional radiology,” Okun said.

Some of those procedures include placing feeding tubes, tumor ablations and vertebral compression fractures.