CHEVERLY – The Prince George’s Hospital Center’s Cardiac Surgery Program has a lot to celebrate as they enter into American Heart Month. The program is nearing 150 successful open-heart surgeries. At 146 successful surgeries, meaning they had no deaths or severe complications, Dr. Jamie M. Brown and his team at the Prince George’s Hospital are […]
CHEVERLY – The Prince George’s Hospital Center’s Cardiac Surgery Program has a lot to celebrate as they enter into American Heart Month. The program is nearing 150 successful open-heart surgeries.
At 146 successful surgeries, meaning they had no deaths or severe complications, Dr. Jamie M. Brown and his team at the Prince George’s Hospital are nearing a milestone for the revamped cardiac surgery program.
“Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Prince George’s County,” Brown said. “And I am excited about our recent accomplishment as Prince George’s Hospital Center strives to develop a true Cardiovascular Center of Excellence in an effort to save more lives.”
Brown is the director of cardiac surgery at the hospital and also an associate professor of surgery in the division of cardiac surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. A veteran of approximately 3,000 open heart operations, he was central to the cardiac program’s transformation in last few years.
In July of 2011, Dimensions Health Care System, Prince George’s County, the state of Maryland, the University of Maryland, along with the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System, signed a memorandum of understanding to “meet the healthcare needs of Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland residents.” The goal was to create and rejuvenate programs in the county so residents would not have to seek care elsewhere.
The revamp of the cardiac program at Prince George’s Hospital was an outcome of that memorandum.
“The partnership among the University of Maryland School of Medicine, our flagship academic hospital at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Prince George’s Hospital Center is focused on providing patients with comprehensive cardiac care and ensuring that the right care is provided in the right place at the right time, close to home,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Maryland Medical System, Robert A. Chrencik.
Over the next three years, the group gathered resources and laid the groundwork for the rejuvenation of the cardiac program, topped by the hiring of Brown as the head of surgery. From there, with a $3 million investment, a new cardiac surgery team was formed by June 2014 and the first cardiac surgery was performed on July 1, 2014.
Nearly 150 surgeries later, the team, hospital and community are celebrating a successful program that provides a service to Prince George’s County residents that would have otherwise been sought outside of the county – and with zero fatalities.
“We say zero percent fatalities and, well, maybe that’s just chance. It’s not chance,” said Stephen T. Bartlett, the executive vice-president and surgeon-in-chief at the University of Maryland Medical System. “What this really means is when the Society of Thoracic Surgery does its first rating of this program, they rate every thoracic surgery, cardiac surgery program in the United States, they give a one, two or three stars – three stars are the best – this will be a three star program. Five percent of programs in the U.S. have achieved that level.”
E. Albert Reece, the vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, said the success of the program is entirely due to the “amazing teamwork” of all the parties involved.
“We are pleased that our facility provides the life-saving skills and the tremendous resources and techniques they have mastered in Prince George’s County,” Reece said.
While the celebration is all about numbers (150 surgeries, zero fatalities, three stars, 5 percent) the celebration is also about the lives saved, like Kevin Garner, an IT professional from Bowie, and Yolanda Patterson. Each of them went to Prince George’s Hospital Center for help with a heart condition.
Garner was one of the first five patients to undergo heart surgery at the hospital. After feeling “extreme pressure” on his chest he drove to Bowie Health Center, where he was transferred to Prince George’s. Just four weeks after his surgery he was able to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
“And it was a beautiful wedding,” he said.
Full recovery took seven more weeks, but Garner said it was all about motivation and the help he received at the center.
“The medical staff at Prince George’s Hospital Center was highly professional and definitely contributed to the overall success and positive outcome of my healing,” Garner said. “I am very grateful the medical care I needed was available close to home.”
Patterson came to the center for a cardiac catheterization last April and soon found out she needed a heart valve replacement. She said Dr. Brown told her she was looking at a heart attack or death, but said he was reassuring and comforted her in preparation for the surgery.
“That was on a Thursday and I believe the surgery was on the following Tuesday,” she said.
Patterson said the entire staff “from the receptionist all the way to rehab” was excellent and made her feel like she was part of the family. Before she had her surgery, she said she “couldn’t walk two steps without sitting down,” and now, without the team, she said, she doesn’t know if she would be around.
“Every time I encounter anyone who even mentions having heart problems I say ‘oh if you have to have a surgery, go see Dr. Brown. He’s really good,’” she said. “So I just want to say thank you.”