Adventist Medical Center Touching Hearts

March 01, 2011 | Brittany Russell

Major cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in Oregon, with heart disease and stroke coming in at second- and third-place, according to the most recent data from Oregon’s Department of Human Services. While these statistics are alarming, Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore., is taking strides to help people with this disease find healing.

Meeting a Community’s Needs

The Northwest Regional Heart Center at AMC has expanded its cardiac services to include open heart surgical services. Area residents experiencing life-threatening heart attacks will no longer have to be transported to other hospitals.

“My husband was brought to the hospital’s new emergency department and was diagnosed with a severe heart condition,” recalls an East Portland woman. “Unfortunately he had to be transferred for his open heart surgery, but I’m glad to know that one of the nation’s best heart surgeons is performing lifesaving open heart procedures at AMC’s new cardiac center — so transfers are a thing of the past.”

According to Brad Titus, M.D., NRHC medical director, the expansion came as a result of community feedback. He says, “The decision to begin open heart surgeries is in direct response to the needs of a community that wants to receive all their cardiac services under one roof, through a facility that is known for quality outcomes.”

Dedicated to Patient Care

At the recent dedication of the open heart surgery program, hundreds joined together to celebrate the fruition of a plan that has been in the making for more than five years. Guests were able to tour the facility, getting up close and personal with the new technology and meeting department staff.

“Our decision to establish a top quality open heart surgery program is based on a community need to care for cardiac related illnesses,” says Tom Russell, AMC president and CEO. “Providing open heart surgery in the same location as other comprehensive cardiac services enhances the patient care experience.”

AMC has made access to the best cardiac care a top priority. The open heart team includes world-class heart surgeon Thomas Molloy, M.D.; state-of-the-art technology, including new operating rooms and robotic equipment; and highly trained critical care nurses and perfusionists.

In addition to offering patients the best comprehensive care, this program is a collaboration between NRHC and Oregon Health and Science University. This partnership between Oregon’s only two accredited chest pain centers provides shared patient protocols and staffing resources, in addition to enhanced technical expertise, multidisciplinary treatment planning and optimized care for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Starting off right

After years of planning and months of preparation, the open heart surgery program is in full swing. However, chaplains and staff didn’t forget a very important part. Before the first open heart surgery, AMC chaplains and staff held a special ceremony, where chaplains prayed for the work of the NRHC and anointed the hands of staff members with oil, representing God’s presence in their work.