New United Regional technology helps one Texoman

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Michael Crowley is happy and healthy. But neither used to be the case.

In 2009 he was experiencing symptoms of an ulcer. He went to get it checked out and it turned out to be much more.

"My gastroenterologist here in Wichita Falls did an EGD and found cancerous tumors," Crowley said.

His doctor removed those tumors but told him he needed an endoscopic ultrasound to make sure the cancer was gone.

"The name describes exactly what it is," G.I. Specialist, Dr. Joshua Stagg said. "It's doing an ultrasound during an endoscopy."

Dr. Stagg said MRIs and CT scans may not detect the cancer if it's small.

G.I. Specialist Dr. Ronald Andari said the same is true of a regular endoscopy.

"There are many things that may lay in the surface, but it's only endoscopic ultrasound that allows you to look beyond that surface and look deeper into the G.I. tract," Dr. Andari said.

Crowley proceeded to set up his appointment but had to have it in Dallas because United Regional didn't have the technology or doctors qualified to do the procedure.

"The cost of going back and forth to Dallas financially and emotionally is tremendous," Crowley said.

He said he had to fight the traffic, go to a new hospital, and meet the new staff.

"I also didn't get to meet the doctor that was doing the procedure until I was in the procedure room," Crowley said. "So I had pretty high anxiety at that time."

A few years later the tumors came back. Crowley's doctor removed them again and suggested another endoscopic ultrasound.

This time he was able to do it in Wichita Falls thanks to Dr. Stagg and Dr. Andari.

"I got to speak with Dr. Andari twice before the procedure and again as we were getting ready to do it," Crowley said. "So at that point, zero anxiety."

"Technology can provide reassurance and a final diagnosis and management," Dr. Andari said.

In Crowley's case, it did.

Both doctors are hoping United Regional's efforts to get the latest technology will help others like Michael Crowley.

"Dr. Andari saved my life," he said.

Since Dr. Andari and Dr. Stagg have been at United Regional, approximately 200 endoscopic ultrasounds have been performed.

They're hoping that number continues to rise so fewer people have to make the drive to Dallas.

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