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Home : News : News
NEWS | June 17, 2011

WHMC hematology, oncology services move to BAMC

By Sue Campbell 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

The Fisher Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and all inpatient hematology and oncology services at Wilford Hall Medical Center will move to Brooke Army Medical Center, Ft. Sam
Houston, Texas, Wednesday. The move is part of the Base Realignment and Closure process to relocate all inpatient services to BAMC.

The Department of Defense BMT program has been housed at Wilford Hall since its inception in 1985. The unit is the only allogeneic BMT unit in the DoD, and performs
the majority of autologous bone marrow transplants. During an allogeneic BMT, a person receives stem cells from a sibling or an unrelated donor. Autologous stem cell transplants are transplants in which patients receive their own stem cells.

Bone marrow transplants are used to treat a number of cancers and certain non-cancerous diseases. The 10-bed Fisher BMT unit operates seven days a week and
averages about 70 transplants each year.

"The Army and Air Force hematology and oncology programs merged at Wilford Hall in September 2007 and have been working jointly since that time," said Stephanie Condron, nurse manager of the Hematology/Oncology Flight. "All our inpatient services and the bone marrow transplant clinic are now relocating en masse to BAMC and the Wilford Hall hem/onc outpatient clinic will move there later this summer."

BMT patients usually transition back and forth between inpatient and outpatient status throughout the course of their therapy. Most of the patients are not San Antonio residents and they often depend on Fisher Houses for lodging during their treatment, which can
take weeks.

"We are grateful that the Lackland Fisher Houses will continue to support our patients," said Ms. Condron. "The Fisher Houses at Ft. Sam Houston are consistently full due to the Army mission for wounded warriors and their families. We were concerned both about availability of space at Ft. Sam Houston and also the risk of housing our immune-compromised patients along with their wounded warrior population, who are more likely to have open wounds or infections related to their combat injuries.

"Having the Lackland Fisher Houses continue to host our patients and their families will be ideal, as they are ensuring available space for our transplant and oncology missions and helping decrease the chance of cross-contamination and infection, while maintaining full services  for wounded warriors," she said.

Regular shuttle bus services between the Lackland and Ft. Sam medical facilities will help provide transportation for Fisher House occupants.

The Fisher BMT unit will initially be located in BAMC's sixth floor west wing. The BMT clinic will be located in Trailer 12, Lot D, by the medical mall. The BMT clinic hours of operation will be 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and after hours and weekend coverage will be provided for patients, as needed.

The hematology/oncology service will eventually move into the hospital's new tower when construction is completed.

The inpatient hematology/oncology and BMT unit and the BMT clinic will move onto the fifth floor, and the hematology/oncology clinic and the oncology pharmacy will move to the third floor.

"We are excited about the move and are dedicated to continue providing the same high-quality, patient-centered care our patients have come to expect and deserve," said Ms. Condron.

Hematology/oncology patients are encouraged to verify the location when making appointments.