By Nikki Gavin and Deb Williams
Thirty years have passed since our founding medical director, Dr. James Touloukian, had a vision of opening a freestanding gastroenterology unit. The climate was right for such a venture back in the early 1990s, since our only local hospital was rapidly outgrowing the space allotted for outpatient procedures.
At the new unit, we would perform colonoscopies, esophagogastroduodenoscopies, esophageal dilation, and flexible sigmoidoscopies.
Prior to the opening the Bloomington Endoscopy Unit, in January of 2001, we offered to perform procedures on our staff, physicians, and their spouses for the opportunity to help us "fine tune" our processes. This allowed us to experience, first hand, the procedures to which our patients would be subjected.
Initially, the Bloomington Endoscopy unit had been projected to perform procedures on five or six patients per day, eventually performing 10 procedures per day by the end of the first year. However, the very first day the unit was open to the general populace, we performed procedures on 14 patients and have been going strong ever since.
Now, the Bloomington Endoscopy Unit performs procedures on anywhere from 24-30 patients per day. As the need for endoscopies has increased over the last few years, our physician group has also grown.
Originally, we had three board-certified gastroenterologists, and to date, the practice has grown to six board-certified gastroenterologists.