Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed January 2005)

Chief administrator: Byron Schweigert, PharmD, Chief Executive Officer, (562) 933-1111

Firm: Caruana & Associates, APC, (562) 595-5666

Design team: Edward James Caruana, AIA, NCARB, Project Architect; Eileen Amano-Peterman, AIA, ASID, Interior Designer (Caruana & Associates, APC); Frank Bole, Structural Engineer (Myers, Houghton & Partners, Inc.); Edward P. Butera, PE, Mechanical Engineer; Dwayne G. Miller, PE, Electrical Engineer (jba Consulting Engineers)

Photography: Charles LeNoir

Total building area (sq. ft.): 603

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $567

Total construction cost (excluding land): $341,975

Entering a linear accelerator can be a frightening experience. Keeping the psychological well-being of patients in mind, the design team created a warm and inviting environment to alleviate their fears.

The patient enters the room over warm, hardwood floors and views soft lighting in the room. The walls have a wainscot of wallcovering with a leaf-print texture and a maple chair rail that complements the blue sky on the arched ceiling. As the patient lies on his or her back, the lights are dimmed to allow the laser-positioning lights to locate the patient, and the fiberoptic stars dotting the sky are illuminated. Meanwhile, a CD player plays the patient's favorite music. Obscured glass partitions are backlit to add softness to the room while concealing necessary equipment from the view of the patient. The new TomoTherapy linear accelerator fit within the confines of an existing concrete containment vault.

The Tomo Therapy system is a new way to deliver radiation treatment for cancer. It scans for and targets malignant tumors, three-dimensionally images the tumor, models it, and treats it with radiation. Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) allows a radiation beam to change size, shape, and intensity to focus enough dosage on the tumor to kill the cancer cells while sparing as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as possible. The TomoTherapy system also performs a CT scan before each treatment, so doctors can verify the position of the tumor and adjust the patient's position to pinpoint radiation treatment.

This benefits doctors and patients alike. The doctors can integrate treatment planning, patient positioning, and treatment delivery in one system, and the patient avoids the painful or debilitating side effects of conventional radiation treatment. When families know their loved ones are receiving the best care possible with the fewest side effects, it gives them peace of mind.

Long Beach Memorial Medical Center has 739 licensed beds and is located in Southern California. To best serve a large population in an efficient manner, state-of-the-art technology is a must. This much-needed Linear Accelerator Suite is one of only two on the West Coast. It is of great benefit to the local population of Long Beach and the extended surrounding communities.

Liner Accelerator Suite Floor Plan