Patient marks milestone in treatment journey

Patient marks milestone in treatment journey

Not many patients know the mobile lithotripsy unit as intimately has John Hillyer who embarked on his 15th procedure at the end of last year. But it was familiarity that gave him confidence in knowing he was in good hands.

John, a Christchurch resident, was first introduced to Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) by Dr Stuart Gowland, who at the time was pioneering the mobile lithotripsy unit. He was relieved to hear there was an alternative to invasive procedures and traditional hospital visits, especially because he had a ruptured urethra from a historical accident. He recalls from his first consultation being struck by Dr Gowland’s thoroughness and passion for his work. “Mr. Gowland explained very clearly with enthusiasm, may I add all about the process. I felt completely relaxed and confident with him and his explanation,” John says.

“It was explained to me at the time that due to the possibility of a tear occurring in the urethra, lithotripsy treatment was the best alternative. Thus, you can imagine how much of a relief that was for me.”

“I had extreme kidney and abdominal pain, so it was a Godsend to have access to immediate treatment.”

Having the treatment conveniently located close to home also helped reduce a significant amount of stress, enabling John to focus solely on his wellbeing. “The mobile unit was fully accessible and comfortable and exceptionally convenient for my lifestyle schedule at that time.”

From his first treatment in 1995 to his last treatment in 2023, he continues to receive the same high level of care and professionalism from the clinical team, ensuring his comfort and wellbeing throughout the process. His experiences reflect the team’s commitment to providing top-notch care, regardless of location or circumstance. “The experience on the unit, and fellowship with the crew was relaxed and jovial. They were very professional, kind and empathetic. The level of care and communication from the crew was exemplary.”

John would also be one of very few patients to have received kidney stone treatment both on the old mobile lithotripsy unit and the new unit launched in June 2021. He says both units were excellent; when he first saw the new mobile unit he recalls thinking how much the service has grown. “I was in awe of the set-up and advanced technology of the unit. And also, the short time it took to perform my treatment.”

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) uses shock waves to break down kidney stones into smaller fragments, enabling their passage through the urinary tract with reduced discomfort and complications. The non-invasive approach of ESWL minimises the need for surgery and reduces recovery time, making it an attractive option for patients like John who seek effective relief without prolonged hospital stays. John was able to have a swift recovery and return to normal activities. “My recovery was amazing. I needed no pain relief and passed the fragmented stones easily.”

“I have had no kidney or abdominal discomfort since (his last treatment).”

As John reflects on his journey, he recognises the significance of the mobile lithotripsy unit and its unique service, and how having timely access to healthcare paved the way to better health.

(Pictured above L-R: Standing outside the Mobile Lithotripsy Unit – Karen Miller, Medical Imaging Technologist; John Hillyer, patient; and Simon Felton, Medical Imaging Technologist)


Mobile lithotripsy unit brings relief to local patient

Mobile lithotripsy unit brings relief to local patient

In the bustling garden city of Ōtautahi Christchurch, a local resident received kidney stone treatment on the mobile lithotripsy unit, leaving a story of success and gratitude. Stewart Howden (pictured above) had been grappling with the excruciating pain of a kidney stone for several weeks. However, thanks to the mobile lithotripsy unit that visited his community, his pain is now a distant memory, and he’s back to living his day-to-day life.

Kidney stones are notoriously painful. With a history of kidney stones, Stewart knew straight away when he started to experience severe pain in his lower back and abdomen that he needed medical attention. Years ago, he was admitted to hospital, eventually passing the stone on his own. This time, he was diagnosed with an 11mm kidney stone and recommended lithotripsy as the most effective treatment option.

The lithotripsy unit is a mobile operating theatre equipped with a state-of-the-art lithotripter, the Storz Modulith SLX-F2. Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is the process of introducing a shock wave from a source outside the body. The energy of the shock waves is targeted on a specified kidney stone, and repetitive shock waves break the kidney stone into small fragments during the course of the treatment. The lithotripsy unit is operated by four Medical Imaging Technologists (MITs) who are highly skilled and experienced professionals.

The treatment process itself was swift and painless. Stewart was carefully prepared for the treatment beforehand and made comfortable in the unit. The advanced technology used in lithotripsy ensured that the stone was precisely targeted, and within a short time, the stone had been successfully fragmented.

For Stewart, the treatment and removal of his kidney stone was a game-changer. “I am pain-free and back to my day-to-day life. I am confidently able to go to work knowing I won’t be interrupted by the pain,” he says.

Although he has other multiple stones in both kidneys and will likely be treated on the lithotripsy unit again in the future, Stewart feels at ease knowing that he is in good hands and says he wouldn’t hesitate to have the treatment again.

Reflecting on his experience, he had nothing but praise for the exceptional care he received. He felt that the care and expertise of the staff both on the lithotripsy unit and at Forte Health was of a high standard; and the technology and equipment onboard the mobile lithotripsy unit was “first rate”.

His story is a testament to the power of accessible healthcare and innovative medical solutions that are improving lives in communities across the country.

About Mobile Medical Technology
The mobile lithotripsy unit provides a mobile operating theatre environment with a dedicated lithotripsy machine for the treatment of kidney stones and other calcifications. The lithotripsy unit works on a four-week roster visiting the North Island for three weeks and the South Island for one week; travelling as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Dunedin.

Visit mobilemedical.co.nz for more information.

Mobile Lithotripsy Unit – virtual tour. Step inside!

Mobile Lithotripsy Unit – virtual tour. Step inside!

Mobile Medical Technology recently completed a virtual tour of the new Mobile Lithotripsy Unit. Go ahead, and take a self-guided virtual walk through the lithotripsy unit, where you can explore the theatre room, recovery room, staff kitchen and waiting room. Click on the interactive map to instantly move across spaces. 

New Mobile Lithotripsy Unit launched

New Mobile Lithotripsy Unit launched

After years of planning and hard work, our new state-of-the-art Mobile Lithotripsy Unit launched this month. The new unit was custom-built with durability and high performance in mind, both on the road and in the treatment room.

The lithotripter was successfully removed from the existing mobile lithotripsy unit and installed in its new home by a German engineer who flew from Switzerland to complete the job. Clinical upgrades include a new anaesthetic machine and reticulated gas system, and a positive pressure vehicle ventilation system for a cleaner treating environment. The treatment and control room are larger, and there is easier entry stairs for patients and staff. The floorplan has also been improved to allow better patient flow, increased accessibility to the staff kitchen and private workspace, and a larger area for the clinical team with an extra slide-out for seating.

Not only has the interior design been updated, but the exterior has also been enhanced with a strengthened overall design with subtle aesthetic tweaks. The vinyl wrap design has a modern touch with a strong brand identity that captures attention and increases brand awareness.

We are proud to bring our patients and staff a new lithotripsy unit that offers the latest technology to successfully treat patients with kidney stones, as well as a comfortable environment during their journey from beginning to end. The new unit will support staff to deliver high quality care and an efficient service to local areas.

Thank you to everyone involved in the project – Forestaire Automotive Climate Specialists and SAS (Rotorua), Pascal Nolte (service engineer from Germany, STORZ MEDICAL AG) and DB Signs (Tauranga).

Discover the new lithotripsy unit by checking out the photos below.


Progress of the new lithotripsy unit

Progress of the new lithotripsy unit

The new lithotripsy unit is currently under construction in Rotorua and is due to be completed in March 2021. The new unit will have a modern fit-out, will be clean and spacious and have enhanced features including upgraded equipment, increased floor space, re-configuration of rooms to improve staff flow, and an improved patient journey when entering and exiting the unit.

The build is making steady progress and we look forward to getting the new unit on the road next year! Check out some of the photos of the build…