Cambridge Memorial Hospital opens liver health clinic
A new liver health clinic has opened at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
The clinic can diagnose and treat patients in Waterloo Region and Wellington County who suffer from liver disease including advanced cirrhosis, acute hepatitis, and metabolic-associated fatty liver disease.
“We can try to avoid hospitalizations, we can do small interventions in our clinic,” said Dr Mohammed Omar Sarfaraz, hepatologist at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
The hospital said the clinic is the first of its kind in a community setting. Liver health centers are usually located in large cities, such as Toronto and Hamilton.
“Patients in small centers tend to have locally fragmented care or travel significant distances,” said Dr Augustin Nguyen, chief of medicine. “The management of patients with advanced disease is often difficult when there is a lack of coordination and specialists. This fragmented care can lead to an increase in emergency room visits, hospitalizations or referrals for care outside the region.
According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, one in four Canadians may be affected by liver disease in their lifetime. Dr Nguyen said that in Waterloo Wellington there could be as many as 6,000 to 9,000 patients living with liver disease.
“It’s a fairly unrecognized burden of disease in the community. These conditions can be silent, ”said Dr Nguyen.
Cambridge Memorial Hospital said having the clinic in the Waterloo region can help reduce the wait time of up to two years to see a liver specialist. Dr Sarfarez said patients can now go directly to the clinic instead of going through “so many different checkpoints”.
Randy, a Cambridge resident, who declined to give his last name, is a patient at the hospital’s Liver Health Center. He goes there every eight days to have his liver drained.
He used to travel to Toronto for treatment, but now his commute is much shorter.
“It saves my life,” he said.
Randy is awaiting a liver transplant, but said that in the meantime he was grateful to have easy access and good care at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
“All I find here is a win, a win, a win,” he said.
The clinic officially opened on Tuesday, October 12. A doctor’s referrals are required to access the clinic.