Cutting-edge cancer treatment at Elmhurst Hospital center will take a major step forward after Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee announced a $5.4 million allocation to fully fund the purchase and installation of a new medical linear accelerator (LINAC) in its oncology unit within months, augmenting the Level 1 trauma center’s ability to provide life-saving, high-quality care to Queens residents battling cancer.
This will be the first LINAC in any of the 11 NYC Health + Hospitals citywide.
“Cancer has spared no one in some way and stolen so many. The battle against cancer is a fierce race against precious time,” Lee said. “Investing in cutting-edge technology and bringing it right here to Elmhurst Hospital is a direct investment in our families, our futures and more birthdays. Top-of-the-line treatment should and will be available for us right here at home, without having to cross a bridge or go through a tunnel. Queens families are worth it, and so we are bringing precision and speed to give our fight against cancer a stronger chance. Thanks to everyone here at Elmhurst Hospital, and the leadership of Israel Rocha, for inspiring the confidence for this public investment into uncompromised, world-class public care.”
The best piece of equipment in the industry, the new Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator — a state-of-the-art external beam radiation device that targets and destroys cancer cells with high-energy X-rays while sparing surrounding healthy tissue — will be installed in early 2021. The existing linear accelerator was installed in 2004 and is nearing the end of its useful life. Upon its installation, the innovative radiotherapy technology will be used to image and treat a wide range of cancers, while ensuring faster and more precise care for patients.
“On behalf of the patients and staff at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, I would like to thank Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee for her generous support of our Radiation Oncology program and our goal of developing an Advanced Oncology and Bloodborne Disorders Institute,” NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Israel Rocha said. “Acquiring a new, state-of-the-art LINAC machine will allow us to offer patients the latest and best technology available for treating cancer. This critical investment in upgraded equipment will ensure that cancer patients in the borough of Queens have access to vital, life-saving treatments and the services they need.”
Lee’s $5.4 million allocation represents the single largest discretionary allocation to NYC Health + Hospitals by the Queens borough president’s office in nearly two decades; this also makes up nearly half of the $11 million allocated to the facility since Fiscal Year 2015. Previous Elmhurst Hospital capital projects funded by the Queens borough president’s office include Emergency Department renovations in 2015, renovations to labor and delivery rooms in 2019 and 2020, and upgrades to the angiography suite in 2016 and 2018.
This critical investment in NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s ability to offer state-of-the-art care reflects the public confidence Rocha and all of the personnel and professionals have inspired at the hospital, serving vastly diverse communities totaling nearly one million people, with more than 1,000 patients treated annually through its Cancer Care Program.