Bluewater Health Keeping Care Closer to Home

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 10:49am

Patients Experiencing Gallstones and Acute Pancreatitis Can Now be Treated Locally

SARNIA & PETROLIA – February 28, 2023 – Bluewater Health’s Surgery program is once again investing in technology and specialty services in order to keep care closer to home. Thanks to a new procedure called, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), patients experiencing acute ailments such as gallstones and pancreatitis, can now receive quicker access to treatment while staying close to family and supports.

Throughout the month of January, staff from Bluewater Health’s operating room, endoscopy and diagnostic imaging departments took part in mock procedures with the new equipment, led by general surgeon and specialist, Dr. Colin Way. The first non-elective procedure became available to local patients in early February. Previously, patients admitted to Bluewater Health’s Emergency Department for acute symptoms impacting their liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts had to travel to London for the non-elective surgery.

ERCP is a procedure that combines upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and x-ray to treat problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts. In 2021-22, 145 Lambton residents had to travel to London for this procedure. “We look after many patients who need access to this service and it was important to us that we could offer that procedure here in Sarnia/Lambton” says Bluewater Health Chief of Staff, Dr. Michel Haddad. “Physicians are required to have specialized training in ERCP to perform this procedure, and so we are thrilled to have Dr. Way settled in Sarnia to provide his specialty services locally.”

Being able to offer this procedure locally also meant investing in new specialty equipment, including a camera-mounted endoscope and video image monitor. During the procedure, patients are sedated while a physician carefully feeds the endoscope down the esophagus, through the stomach, and into the duodenum. A small camera sends a video image to the monitor, while air is pumped into the stomach and duodenum, making it easier for the care team to see. The procedure is done to open blocked or narrowed ducts, break up or remove stones, perform a biopsy or remove tumors, and to insert stents.

The procedure commonly takes between one and two hours. Most patients can return home same day.

Bluewater Health, with locations in Sarnia and Petrolia, cares for the approximately 131,000 residents of Sarnia-Lambton. With close to 2500 staff, Professional Staff and volunteers, Bluewater Health provides an array of specialized acute, complex continuing care, allied health and ambulatory care services. For more information about Bluewater Health, visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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