SPRINGFIELD – Time is critical when treating medical conditions affecting the brain, including strokes and aneurysms. The longer a patient goes without treatment, the greater the chance of irreversible damage. 

Thanks to a $1 million grant from the Runnin’ Wild Fund of Oregon Community Foundation, this month PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend upgraded its minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment, called a neuro biplane.

PeaceHealth Sacred Heart at RiverBend’s neurointerventional team treats patients in the region for disorders of the blood vessels feeding the head, neck, brain and spine.

PeaceHealth officials said the next phase of building neurological capacity to meet increasing regional demand will include an additional room equipped with a second neuro biplane.

“Having this equipment in the Eugene-Springfield area will make lifesaving interventions more accessible and proximate to patients who previously would have required time-consuming emergency transport to Portland,” said Maylian Pak, Oregon Community Foundation’s director of donor relations.

“I am honored to help facilitate the funding to support this project,” she said.

The new equipment will enable the neurointerventional team to serve more patients and help ensure that a neuro biplane is always available in emergencies.

Russ Clifford of Cottage Grove experienced that care firsthand when he had a stroke last year. He arrived by ambulance at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart at RiverBend’s emergency department and quickly went into surgery. Using the previous equipment available at the hospital, Dr. Wilder guided a catheter through the groin into the brain and successfully removed a clot.

Clifford was in the ICU for 24 hours and has had no lasting effects from the stroke. “My wife Janna and I were amazed at the quick, efficient response from EMTs, hospital staff and Dr. Michael Wilder and team,” Clifford said. “We’re incredibly grateful for this procedure, which allowed me to avoid adverse effects from the stroke.” PeaceHealth Sacred Heart at RiverBend is the only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center between Portland and Sacramento. Only 300 institutions have the certification nationwide. 

This financial gift has sparked a fundraising effort to raise an additional $1.2 million by June 30 to finish PeaceHealth’s neurointerventional program expansion with a second neuro biplane room.

More information about Sacred Heart Foundation’s Neurointerventional Program Support Fund is available at, or call 541-222-7120 to speak to a member of the Foundation team. 

PeaceHealth is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. 

The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities.