Many mesothelioma patients undergo grueling surgery, and afterwards, are generally immobile for numerous weeks as they try to heal. A new device, however, the Sugarbaker Walker, is allowing surgery patients to be up and moving, helping to speed up their recovery.
The Sugarbaker Walker, named after Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned surgeon and medical director at the Baylor College of Medicine, are unique devices that allow people to be mobile faster than ever before after surgery and in a much safer way.
Unlike older walker models that required medical staff to help the patient move around, the Sugarbaker Walker has an oxygen tank holder, a chest tube vacuum, an IV pole, and adjustable wheels. Not only does it promote exercise. but according to Dr. Abraham Lebenthal of VA Boston Healthcare System, it can help cancer patients with a faster recovery after surgery.
“It’s a very significant piece of equipment today. It can kick start the recovery process. Patients just do better with early ambulation.”
According to Tom Halliday, owner of Halliday Medical Inc., the company that manufacturers the walker, the design was worked with and upgraded numerous times, making the newest versions of the walker one of the best of its kind.
“In the beginning, [Sugarbaker] was saving the patients with surgery, and he needed a better, easier way to get them up and walking. That was the original thought process. The walkers themselves, and the concept, are pretty basic. What’s unique is adding all these options. It’s revolutionary.”
Due to the success so far of the Sugarbaker Walkers, it’s now being used in several hospitals, including the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Fox Chase Cancer Center.
The walker has been so helpful that it has helped the time patients stay in the hospital after surgery. Most patients return home without the need of oxygen assistance. In addition, it’s help to reduce postoperative respiratory problems, such as hospital acquired pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
According to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, the walkers, used primarily in hospital intensive care units (ICU), help to provide individualized care to each and every with patient
- Adjustable arm rests
- External monitors, pumps, and tubes
- Catheter bags
- Built-in, portable oxygen tanks
- Suction for chest tubes
Eileen Fagan-Fittery, a case manager who works with thoracic surgical patients, indicates that she has never seen so many surgery patients return home so early after using the Sugarbaker Walker.
“Several months after the walker was in use, I noticed a change in patient discharges that I had not seen during my twelve years here at Fox Chase.”
As the success of the walkers continue to increase, there is hope that more medical centers will start using them for their own surgery patients.
Additional Help and Resources for Cancer Patients
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness related to asbestos, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For questions or assistance, contact us at 800-694-4856.