Speaking at the official opening Monday of the Franciscan Health Munster Cancer Center, Bishop Donald Hying said patients will enter the doors with fear and perhaps with despair, anger and not knowing what is coming next.
But because of those receiving them, treating them, loving them and ultimately healing them, Hying said, they will leave with hope— knowing that the center’s community of health ministry profoundly cares about them. “Many will leave with healing and a new vitality in life,” he said.
They will also leave knowing that the 83,500-square-foot, $50 million center offers the attraction of a full line of state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostic and treatment services, eliminating the need for patients to travel outside of the area.
“It is going to be a wonderful service to the community,” said Sister Aline Shultz, hospital chief operating officer.
In anticipation of Monday’s blessing and dedication of the center, officials held an open house for the public on Sunday. Shultz said about 700 people attended.
“What a lot of them said to us is they don’t have to go to Chicago anymore,” she said. “This is close to their hometown. If we don’t do anything else, we keep people home where they are comfortable close to their friends and their families. So that is the biggest blessing for us.”
Groundbreaking for the center was in April 2016. The three-story building is attached to the existing Franciscan Health Munster facility at 701 Superior Ave. It follows the opening of the center’s endoscopy unit a few months ago.
The center, just west of Calumet Avenue and a few blocks south of Community Hospital, will consolidate the oncology treatment services of the Dyer and Munster hospitals and Franciscan Health Hammond. Screenings still will be available at Dyer and Hammond.
The center offers radiation oncology treatment, with two linear accelerators for radiation therapy; medical oncology-infusion therapy, with a 15-chair infusion center for chemotherapy that will have room for expansion; oncology lab services; a full-service women’s center that will offer breast cancer screenings, along with diagnosis, needle biopsy and bone density testing; and a pharmacy, a 50-person capacity waiting room, physician suites and a retail center.
The endoscopy unit offers four procedure rooms and 14 private holding/prep/recovery rooms. Two of the 14 rooms are for recovery of patients who have received general anesthesia or require isolation.