The volume of heart procedures is building up at TMH.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR HEALTH WRITER
TRUMBULL MEMORIAL HOSPITAL NOW has all the weapons needed to treat a heart attack without the delays created by having to transport patients to another hospital, said Dr. James Sudimack, vice president of the TMH medical staff and an emergency physician.
"This is the best open heart surgery room I've ever seen," said Dr. Timothy J. Hunter of TMH's new open heart surgery operating room and cardiac catheterization laboratory, previewed during open houses Wednesday for hospital staff, media and the general public.
"This equipment is state-of-the-art and this is the nicest open heart surgery room I've ever seen. It's as good as at any hospital in the country," Dr. Hunter said.
The lab and surgery room will be open for patients Monday, said Elizabeth Maiorana, corporate clinical executive for cardiovascular services.
Dr. Hunter, along with Dr. Pyongsoo D. Yoon, cardiothoracic surgeons who have led the open heart surgery program at the Heart Hospital of Forum Health in Youngstown since its inception five years ago, will also be the head physicians at the TMH facility.
Dr. Yoon said he and Dr. Hunter have performed more than 2,000 heart operations at the Heart Hospital in the Northside Medical Center, but their overall heart operation experience is more than 5,000.
Also, Dr. Yoon said, just as it "takes a whole village to raise a child," it takes a team of professionals who trust and rely on each other to make a heart patient healthy again.
Team is experienced
It isn't just the surgeons who have extensive experience, Dr. Hunter said. The physician assistants, registered nurses, scrub technicians, other specialists and staff will be the same people as at Northside Heart Hospital, and all have at least five years' experience, he said.
Part of the support staff for TMH's heart surgery department has been in training for several months at Northside under the direction of a support consulting team, Maiorana said.
Some staff members were hired from outside Forum Health for their experience and others were moved to the open heart unit from within. About 30 full-time equivalent positions were created in many disciplines, Maiorana said.
While the volume of heart procedures is building up at TMH, she said, open heart staff personnel will participate at Northside so their skills will stay sharp.
Maiorana said it will not be necessary to take business away from Cleveland or Pittsburgh hospitals to create the volume of business necessary to support the unit.
"If we can keep the people who show up for treatment here in our system, that will be adequate," she said.
The surgeons are as talented as any in this region, meaning patients will not have to go outside the area for the best of care, said N. Kristopher Hoce, president and chief executive officer of Forum Health.
Hoce praised the boards of TMH and Northside for their roles in making the project a reality, and said the union leadership at TMH was extremely supportive of introducing new roles and responsibilities for employees.