Dr Sam Hare (Medicine 1995) has introduced a revolutionary way of doing lung biopsies for medical tests at Barnet Hospital.
The new method, which uses a small compact device called the Heimlich valve chest drain, instead of a traditional bulky chest drain, could free up hospital beds and increase tenfold the number of life-saving tests carried out each year.
Dr Hare, consultant thoracic radiologist and chief of radiology at Barnet Hospital, began piloting the new method in 2011 after returning from a thoracic radiology fellowship at The Ottawa Hospital in Canada, where the biopsy technique was well established.
Dr Hare said:
“This really is a paradigm shift in the way we carry out lung biopsies. Lung cancer is the leading cause of European cancer deaths, but despite huge advances in therapies, many patients are missing out on cutting edge treatment due either to delays in diagnosis or being declined lung biopsy altogether.
“Normally when booking a lung biopsy there is an inherent delay, because you have to first book an elective in-patient bed for post-biopsy monitoring. And if there are no beds available you have to re-schedule the biopsy appointment.
“But under this new system we are not dependent on hospital beds so we can get a lot of people through the door. Whereas most hospitals are able to do around 30 biopsies a year, we have done 138 in the last four months alone."
The research was published in Thorax the journal of the British Thoracic Society, on 14 July 2015, and also reported in The Times.