A Most Compelling Cause

A Most Compelling Cause

Dear Friends and Family,

I would like to introduce you to a unique and compelling cause that I invite you to support during this new year. Our family has personally benefited from the lifesaving techniques associated with this cause, initiated by a brilliant endoscopic surgeon by the name of Dr. Kenneth Binmoeller, Director of the Interventional Endoscopy Services at CPMC in San Francisco. Because of Dr. Binmoeller’s work, innovations, and teachings, countless lives have already been saved, the face of delicate digestive tract surgeries has changed, and surgeons around the world have learned his techniques and taken advantage of his creativity. Endoscopic procedures, which were originally developed for diagnostic purposes only, have become remarkably advanced thanks to Dr. Binmoeller’s vision. At this time, he is seeking support for a new foundation that will allow him to further expand his vision.

Here’s our story and our connection to Dr. Binmoeller:

Eight years ago, my husband Mike collapsed with a case of acute pancreatitis. His illness was caused by a gallstone that lodged in his bile duct at the junction of his pancreatic duct. The circumstances caused the digestive enzymes that normally flow from the pancreas to aid digestion in the small intestines to back up and attack his pancreas, resulting in the loss of most of his pancreas and the growth of a pseudocyst on his pancreas that demanded surgery. By the grace of God, Mike survived the ordeal, but he was in bed for most of 6 months, on a feeding tube for over 4 months, and on morphine for pain for almost 6 months. Due to his compromised pancreas, he acquired diabetes, which requires steady insulin treatment, and became dependent on enzyme supplements at mealtimes to help with digestion. It was indeed a grueling time for all of our family.

Had Mike fallen ill five years earlier, he would have required major surgery to address the gall stone and the pseudocyst, as well as months of recovery in the hospital. Because of the intricate endoscopic procedures Dr. Binmoeller has developed in recent years, tools were fed through an endoscope tube down Mike’s throat and through the natural paths of his body without invasive incisions, where the doctor was able to remove the gallstone from his bile duct and install a tiny drain between the pseudocyst and Mike’s stomach. The drain relieved his pancreas of the dead tissue and fluid that had accumulated.

Since then, Mike has had nine more interventional endoscopic procedures with Dr. Binmoeller to maintain his health, including two incidences where stents were placed in his bile duct to keep it stretched open where damage from the original attack occurred. All of the procedures have been 1-day, outpatient events, thanks to this wonderful doctor’s techniques. Mike would never have survived such maintenance through conventional surgeries.

I truly believe Mike wouldn’t be here today…working, playing golf, and enjoying life…had it not been for Dr. Binmoeller and his innovative endoscopic procedures, as well as for his caring gastroenterologist, Dr. Faraz Berjis, who had the foresight to refer Mike for highly specialized treatment. Since that time, both men have become family friends. And since that time, our son Mark has also required endoscopic surgery by Dr. Binmoeller. We feel so blessed that our family came to be in such good hands.

Dr. Binmoeller has recently founded an independent organization called Endovision, which has the following mission: To promote and advance endoscopic technology to cure digestive tract disease and cancers. If you have a loved one who has ever experienced digestive tract disease or has had to endure extensive recovery from a major surgery, you know the importance of such a mission.

Dr. Binmoeller has shared with us that, in the end, his career-long mission is to eliminate as many major surgeries as he can by continuing to develop new and innovative ways to perform endoscopic procedures. As he puts it, his mission is much bigger than any of us. It is about improving the future health of mankind. What a challenge he is willing to embrace.

He is currently working on a patent for his most recent invention: a new endoscopic tool that will further eliminate the need for conventional surgery. He hopes to take the tool to clinical trials soon. He is looking for support to move this project forward. Endovision is a non-profit organization that is dependent on donations as its source of income. If, after learning about our personal interest in Dr. Binmoeller’s work, you see value in his mission, I encourage you to support Endovision in any way you can. Dr. Binmoeller’s innovations may touch your life too somewhere down the line.

Learn more about Endovision and Dr. Binmoeller at the Endovision website:


To make a contribution to this lifesaving cause, go directly to Endovision’s Donation Page:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story,

Barbara McLaughlin
Mike McLaughlin
P.S. See an interview with Dr. Binmoeller where he touches on an example of the original procedure he performed on Mike.  http://www.endosuite.com/videos/meet-kenneth-binmoeller-md-founder-of-the-axios-technology

A Breath of Different Air

A Breath of Different Air

It was early morning in the mountains on this ordinary day. It was still outside as the pastel hues of sunrise seeped into the sky to better define the mountains’ imposing structures. There were no sounds except the slight ringing in my ears. Though it was a late summer morn, it was rather chilly inside. I was cozied into a fluffy white robe that wasn’t quite keeping me as warm as I would have liked to be. The temperature outside was at least in the 40’s. My kitty Belle was curled up in the corner of the loft where I write. Hubby was rustling in the bedroom behind me.

It had been a busy and emotional summer. Aside from facilitating a major re-imaging project for our family business, I was caught up in a whirlwind of care giving from several directions, which left me no down time or breathing space. The work project was quite interesting and motivating. The care giving was necessary, and I was especially honored to do all I could for our dear kitty Bubba who, so sadly, lost his three month battle with a deadly illness. But all of the care giving collided, and I found myself bouncing from one situation to another with no time for a break.

I had fought the idea of coming to the mountains for a break. It seemed that packing, traveling, and dealing with maintenance chores there would add even more to my never-ending to-do list. I was more inclined to stay home and dive further into the work projects, which were at least stimulating and positive in nature. Once I was there, however, I was reminded that time away is of great value. A change of scene, a breath of different air, a change of pace, and even a different kind of chore were so good for the soul. It was easier to reflect, to relax, to re-energize when I had a chance to see where I’d been from a different perspective. I was also reminded that those mountains are always there for me when I need them as my go-to place to breathe. I hope everyone takes occasional time to retreat to a breathing place.