St. Joseph Hospital Using New Technology In Pathology Lab To Diagnose Illnesses

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COLLEGE STATION - Making a quick diagnosis is always important when you get sick and new technology at St. Joseph Hospital is speeding up the turnaround time for pinpointing certain illnesses.

News 3 looked at the benefits of new technology that changes what used to take days to diagnose into as short as a few hours.

"Yeah it sorta started on a Tuesday afternoon. I just felt ill," said Timothy Duguid," Ph.D., and Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Texas A&M Initiative for Digital Humanities.

He had just moved to College Station when he suddenly got very sick.

"Had just taken a nap and woken up and realized that I just didn't know what was going on around me," he said.

With a 102 degree fever and blurred vision, he was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan

"By the morning they found out that I had a staph infection, and so they started me on the antibiotics basically straight away there," he added.

A critical component to that early diagnosis was what's called a Nanosphere.

"This is new technology. We're the first in the Brazos Valley to offer this," said Dr. Michael Cohen, the Medical Director of Laboratories at St. Joseph Hospital.

Instead of having to grow bacteria culture samples for days, the device helps identify what's wrong in much shorter time.

"We can transfer them to this molecular analyzer which tests for the DNA of specific bacteria, so it's much more specific... We can offer physicians quicker information," Cohen said.

In Duguid's case that meant knowing he had sepsis and endocarditis which is an inner infection of the heart.

He'd had heart troubles before and because of this illness had to go to Houston for heart surgery for a new heart valve.

But he's better now.

"I was on the right medications, and the fact that they were able to get me on those medications so quickly was a real benefit to me," said Duguid.

St. Joseph spent $60,000 for the Nanosphere equipment.

It can also be used to diagnose infections of the blood stream, respiratory tract, and stomach illnesses too.