Mercy introduces Breast Care Center

New facility to offer digital mammograms

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	Carol Coates, center, walks through the waiting area of the Mercy Regional Breast Care Center, as Sheila Rosado with the center answers questions about the new facility during an open house Saturday.</p> Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Herald photo

Carol Coates, center, walks through the waiting area of the Mercy Regional Breast Care Center, as Sheila Rosado with the center answers questions about the new facility during an open house Saturday.

Inside Mercy Regional Medical Center’s new Breast Care Center, a hand-painted chandelier looks down from the ceiling. Paintings adorn the walls and sculptures welcome visitors. Mercy hopes to attract patients by offering sophisticated technology for mammograms, advanced imaging and biopsies to detect breast cancer. The Durango hospital held an open house for the facility Saturday, ahead of its Nov. 3 opening. “It’s the newest technology,” said Mary Howell, director of Mercy Regional Breast Care Center. But perhaps most striking is the facility’s elegant atmosphere. Soft lighting, a gas fireplace and large windows lend an ambiance that departs dramatically from traditionally cold and institutional hospital design. “It’s state-of-the-art, and it’s very cheerful,” said Charlotte Perez of Durango, a breast-cancer survivor who toured the facility Saturday. “And that means a lot.” Perez said she was treated for breast cancer at older facilities in eastern Tennessee. Mercy’s facility, she said, “has a calm to it.” Benefactors donated $3.4 million to the Mercy Health Foundation to establish the Breast Care Center. Donations ranged from 28 cents to $1 million, Howell said. Mercy conducted 8,000 mammograms from September 2008 to September 2009, Howell said. That number is likely to rise, she said. “Everybody knows somebody who has breast cancer,” she said. The Breast Care Center uses digital mammograms, which provide faster, more precise results, Howell said. The center also provides advanced imaging, breast MRI and ultrasound, image-guided biopsy and tissue analysis services. Howell said Mercy gives local patients who seek the latest technology the ability to stay in Durango, rather than driving to Denver or Albuquerque. “We’re going to try to draw those people back,” she said. Shanan Campbell Wells, owner and lead consultant of SCW Art Consulting in Durango, chose the artwork. “It’s a combination of local and regional, with a couple of national artists,” she said. Wells said she chose pieces that “make you feel good when you look at them.” Mercy Regional Medical Center is one of the largest private employers in La Plata County and is part of Catholic Health Initiatives, a Denver-based national nonprofit corporation. Mercy moved in June 2006 to an $82 million, 212,000-square-foot hospital in Grandview. chuck@durangoherald.com">chuck@durangoherald.com