Sydney Adventist Hospital in Australia will now be able to change lives through earlier detection and treatment of cancer and brain disease, thanks to its new PET-CT scanner that features cutting-edge technology, institution leaders said.
The scanner is housed at the hospital’s new imaging center, launched on November 20. The new facility — The Robert & Jeanne Szeto PET-CT Centre — was made possible through the generosity of nuclear medicine physician Edwin Szeto, who donated AU$7 million (about US$4.6 million) to build the center in honor of his parents.
An additional AU$500,000 (about US$329,000) was donated toward the new center by the hospital’s philanthropy arm, San Foundation.
The new technology brings good news for the San’s patients, with increased scanning capacity, more accuracy, and less exposure to radiation.
“We will now be able to double our current capacity of scanning 15 patients per day to 30 patients per day. This means shorter waiting lists for patients and hopefully earlier disease detection and treatment,” Adventist Healthcare CEO Brett Goods said.
The new equipment will also reduce scanning times from 30 to 10 minutes per scan. Its cutting-edge technology also requires smaller doses of radiation, which reduces radiation exposure for patients. “The new scanner also has an ‘auto-positioning’ function to remotely move the scanning bed. This means less radiation exposure and enhanced safety for staff,” Goods said.
The Robert & Jeanne Szeto PET-CT Centre also houses a dedicated radiopharmaceutical laboratory hot-lab, reporting rooms, and a large waiting area. There are two change rooms, three bathrooms, and six uptake rooms (specialized rooms where patients can comfortably rest between radiopharmaceutical injection and scanning).
The center was carefully designed and built to ensure good workflow and improved radiation shielding for the safety of patients and staff. “Consideration was also given to aesthetics, ambience, and enhanced comfort measures, which will make a difference to patients’ experience. This is important as they often undergo scans and treatment at a very difficult period in their life,” said Brian Sorensen, San Radiology and Nuclear Medicine chief nuclear medicine technologist.
A Generous Donation
Szeto, who has been working at the San since 2018, explained the motivation for the donation came from his parents’ example. “My father was a quietly spoken yet purposeful man who was completely dedicated to his family. He remained humble amid his business successes and was known for his selflessness and generosity. We often heard him remark about the importance of giving,” Szeto said. “My mother is simply the most selfless and loving person one could imagine, deeply dedicated to her Christian faith. She always reminded us to never forget dad, and there were frequent conversations about how to best honor his legacy.”
When his father died, Szeto and his mother talked about making a meaningful charitable contribution in health care.
Szeto said he felt an “immediate synergy with the whole community” when he started working at the San. “So, when I heard the San was thinking about upgrading the Nuclear Medicine Department, I made a few enquiries, and the rest is history.”
Speaking at the opening event, San Foundation managing director Judy Tanna thanked the Szeto family for their generous donation. “We hope by joining us here today, you have an even better understanding of the profound impact this gift will have not only on our patients but on the physicians, the radiologists, the nurses and the allied health professionals that will also be able to better serve their patients,” she said.