Bronchoscopy Patent Awarded
The Brunswick County Hospital (before it was sold & re-built in 2011 by Norvant Health Brunswick Medical Center) was a small rural 60 bed facility with two operating rooms functioning with No Anesthesiologist. At this point-in-time anesthesia was given by nurse anesthetists with little training. We immediately knew this was our moment to seize a great opportunity to be part of the hospital vision to build a state-of-the-art Anesthesia Department that would make surgery and obstetrics very safe for the residents of Brunswick County. We relocated to Brunswick County in 1993 and began our family!
Dr. Ken Willeford was given the challenge and honor of being the first and only Anesthesiologist in Brunswick County for over ten years! One particular area of healthcare that Dr. Ken noticed needed improvement was in the management of low oxygen levels of people when they had a procedure called Bronchoscopy.
Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your respiratory doctor, usually a pulmonologists to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat, larynx, trachea, and lower airways. To learn more about Bronchoscopy click here.
The Willeford's invented and hold a US Patent on the first Bronchoscopy Oxygen System. This system is easily attached to any bronchoscope. The oxygen system is designed to increase patient safety and decrease the risk of any potentially life-threatening event from happening from low blood oxygen level during the bronchoscopy procedure. We have named our devise after Joan Rivers and call it the "River Device." The Oxygenation System for any Bronchoscope is just like a "RIVER" because like a river it carries oxygen, the most vital nutrient the body needs.
Bronchoscopy, typically considered safe for most people, is not exactly what Dr. Ken observed at the Brunswick Hospital. Many doctors such as Pulmonologist elect NOT to have an Anesthesiologist in the room assisting with the procedure of Bronchoscopy. Like all medical procedures, there are some risks involved when you have a Bronchoscopy performed on you. Risks may include bleeding (especially if you have had a biopsy), infection, and trouble breathing or a low blood oxygen level during the test. Very rare but potentially life-threatening risk are risks of bronchoscopy include heart attack and lung collapse.