Martha’s Vineyard Hospital receives gift of 3D mammography unit

Photo by Michael Cummo

One check from generous donors Shelley and Allan Holt of Chilmark and Washington, D.C., brought Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s end of year campaign to raise enough money to purchase a state-of-the-art digital tomosynthesis (3D mammography) unit to a successful conclusion.

As a result, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital will begin providing 3D mammography in the spring of 2015, according to a press release issued Monday.

Digital tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional view of breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. “This means earlier cancer diagnoses, and fewer false positives requiring fewer callbacks, thereby reducing patient stress and anxiety,” said Dr. Deborah Hall.

“I am grateful to Shelley and Allan Holt and all of our contributors who joined in support of this effort,” Tim Walsh, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital president and CEO said. “Thanks to them, we far surpassed all our hopes.”

The fundraising appeal received great support from across the Vineyard community, and then, out of the blue, Timothy Sweet, chairman of the board of trustees, received a call from Mrs. Holt offering to fully fund the quest to raise $400,000 to bring 3D tomosynthesis to Martha’s Vineyard, hospital director of development Rachel Vanderhoop said.

“I was totally speechless,” Mr. Sweet said. “Allan and Shelley have already given very generously to the construction of the new hospital, and now they were offering to help again. We can’t thank them enough for their continuing generosity and community spirit. Their gift will provide the Island with the most advanced diagnostic breast care available today.”

The largest clinical study done to date on Hologic 3-D mammography was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on June 25, 2014. Led by Dr. Sarah M. Friedewald of the Caldwell Breast Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., the study found that screening by means of digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, detects 41 percent more invasive cancers than traditional mammography.

“Now the women of Martha’s Vineyardhave access, without leaving the Island, to the latest and best mammography equipment for the detection of breast cancer,” said Mrs. Holt.

As a result of the Holts’ generosity, the hospital is now working to fund the Philips Heart Monitoring system. This new monitoring system allows the transfer of vital signs in real time into the electronic medical record, according to a press release. This reduces transcription errors and instantly provides current information to anyone viewing the record.

Ms. Vanderhoop has been contacting donors to the 3D campaign in the hope that they will consider redirecting their gift to help fund the purchase of this advanced technology. “Everyone I have spoken with has been incredibly thankful for the Holts’ gift, and supportive of our request regarding the heart-monitoring system,” she said.

In June 2012 the Holts helped fund the purchase of Thimble Farm in Oak Bluffs by the Island Grown Initiative for $2.6 million.

Mr. Holt is a managing director and co-head of the U.S. buyout group at the Carlyle Group, a global alternative-asset manager with $203 billion of assets under management across 129 funds and 141 fund-of-funds vehicles, according to its web site.

For more information, contact the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital development office at 508-693-4645.