Crohn's sufferer Simon Harris hails camera that can be swallowed
A revolutionary medical device which is swallowed like a pill but contains a tiny camera capable of taking photos inside the body looks set to transform the diagnosis of conditions like Crohn's disease.
Health Minister Simon Harris, who himself suffers from the illness, which causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system, was introduced to the futuristic Pillcam at the Bons Secours Hospital in Glasnevin, Dublin yesterday, where it is being piloted on patients.
The Pillcam, made by Medtronic, is small enough to be swallowed like a traditional tablet and is fitted with a camera capable of taking pictures of the small bowel.
Mr Harris said: "I have Crohn's disease and have to look after my own diet and lifestyle. People with chronic conditions are encouraged by the new endoscopy facilities and advances coming on to help us manage them."
The minister was opening the private hospital's newly developed endoscopy unit, the first stage in the group's €150m capital investment programme in Cork, Dublin, Tralee and Cork. He reiterated his plans to outsource more public waiting list patients to private hospitals.
Bill Maher, chief executive of the Bons Secours Health System, said the company looked forward to the results of Pillcam.
"It has the potential to allow us increase capacity and also help patients who cannot tolerate a scope," he added.