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Emanuel’s Cardiac Care Program celebrates an anniversary and many lives saved

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POSTED May 29, 2012 6:17 p.m.

One year ago, the first open heart surgery was performed at Turlock’s Emanuel Medical Center.

Then cardiovascular surgeons performed another. And another. And another.

Other cardiologists provided less-invasive treatments in the Cardiac Cath and Interventional Lab, using catheters threaded inside arteries to open clogged arteries and save the lives of people having heart attacks.

In the last 12 months, more than 30 open heart surgeries have been performed at Emanuel, and 53 people having heart attacks received the fast emergency treatment they needed in Turlock. The national goal for performing an angioplasty, to open a clogged coronary artery, is under 90 minutes, from the time the patient comes through the Emergency Room doors. Emanuel’s average time is just 54 minutes, well under the national standard.

“We worked so hard to bring these services to Emanuel Medical Center and Turlock because we knew a quality cardiac program here would save lives,” said Emanuel President and CEO, John Sigsbury. “I am absolutely, 100 percent certain that we have. And everyone involved with cardiovascular services is proud of our treatment and outcomes.”

In fact, Emanuel’s program is impressing other people, as well. The Joint Commission is a national organization that inspects and accredits health care providers. In March, Joint Commission surveyors visited Emanuel to review its open heart program – and they found nothing to improve.

“The surveyor found no deficiencies, and said she is normally able to find something wherever she goes,” said Connie Fairchilds, Emanuel’s vice president of patient care services. “Instead, she complimented all aspects of our program, and was particularly complimentary of our competency program, offering that this was a leading practice that should be shared on the Joint Commission website.”

Sigsbury said, “that kind of praise from the Joint Commission, is rare indeed.”

“In 33 years of hospital administration, I have never received a visit from the Joint Commission that resulted in no recommended action steps,” he said. “To have it suggested that our program be shared as a Best Practice on the Joint Commission website is truly an accomplishment.”

And while the recognition is nice, the results are ever nicer.

“We built our cardiac services program at Emanuel to provide the best service for the people in Turlock and our nearby communities and it’s doing that, it’s saving lives,” Sigsbury said. “I start every day knowing that the facilities and the physicians and the program are here at Emanuel, available to anyone who needs them. And that’s life-changing for everyone.”

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