Technology and research

"The unknown is the scariest part."

Katie Wright waited more than five years to learn that her daughter, Ellie, was born with a rare genetic mutation. The journey to learning Ellie's diagnosis began when she was just a week old.

Preliminary tests didn't determine any definitive results about what was causing the delays in Ellie's mobility or why she wasn't eating regularly, but Katie didn’t give up on trying to find answers, and neither did Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. Ellie's physicians at Mary Bridge recommended exome sequencing, a comprehensive test that reads a patient’s DNA to detect any possible mutations. But the test comes with a steep price tag. Katie had to turn to crowdfunding to raise the $15,000 needed to pay for it.

After a period of researching and retesting her results, it was ultimately discovered that Ellie was born with a mutation in her HUWE1 gene. She is one of only a couple dozen children worldwide with a mutation in this gene. With this information, Ellie finally had a starting point for treatment. She now attends school with kids her own age where she has daily physical, speech and occupational therapy — all of which have helped her become “a totally different kid,” her mom says.

Most families can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs that can reach up to $6,000 per test. Donors help patients like Ellie access life-changing genetic testing. Donors also help streamline care for adults by providing the technology to connect genetic testing results to patient charts.

Thank you for making advanced technology, equipment and research available to patients. In 2018:

220 cancer patients participated in clinical trials.

275 children with special needs received customized equipment and technology from Mary Bridge Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Unit.

12 children received genetic testing that was covered by donor funding.

100 new Stryker wheelchairs were introduced at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital.

6,000 MultiCare nurses, physicians, specialists and technicians will be able to safely practice specialty care skills in a new Simulation Suite at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital.

Robert Garcia was the first Mary Bridge patient to have corrective spinal surgery with robotics-based assistive technology purchased through a $1 million gift from the Mary Bridge Brigade.

Better, faster cancer care is coming to MultiCare Regional Cancer Center thanks to donor-funded software.

SmartCurve 3D mammography system is now available at Gig Harbor, Auburn and Covington imaging centers.

MultiCare patients have access to WatchPAT technology, a portable device that more accurately screens and detects sleep apnea.

Gifts to Where The Need Is Greatest help fuel research studies through the MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation (MIRI). Learn more about MIRI and ways to help.

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