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Sacred Heart Expanding Facilities for Heart and Cancer Patients

March 25, 2012 by Joyce Owen

At Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, the focus has always been on patient care. “Patient satisfaction is tops for us. We want to make sure every patient has a good experience,” says Marketing Coordinator Sarah Bailey.

The hospital recently celebrated its ninth year as it continues to provide much-needed health care services to residents and visitors. Since the hospital opened on Jan. 27, 2003, the emergency room has expanded, the Olson Women’s Diagnostic Center, the Family Birth Place and Medical Office Building opened, but there’s little time to rest on past achievements.

Sacred Heart continues to grow with the addition of the Judy and Steve Turner Heart and Vascular Center, the expansion of the Sacred Heart Cancer Center, additional parking and, a little further down the road, a bed expansion program and pediatric services.

Although there are only 58 beds, the hospital provides many services seen at much larger facilities, Bailey says.

The soon-to-be completed Heart Center, located on the main floor beneath the Family Birth Place, has two catherization labs with state-of-the-art equipment, including a hybrid lab, the only one of its kind in the Florida Panhandle. The hybrid lab is larger than a traditional cath lab and provides capabilities for interventional and surgical procedures, which allows patients to receive both procedures simultaneously, if necessary. Patients that previously were transported to Pensacola for a stent or angioplasty can undergo the procedures here.

The recruitment of interventional cardiologist Ajay Labroo brings the option of performing less invasive procedures to the hospital. Dr. Labroo, Dr. Angel Morrobel and Dr. Stephen Phlaum, cardiologist in the Sacred Heart Medical Group, are already performing interventional cardiac procedures in the old cath lab.

Electrophysiologist Francis Le will begin work this summer. With Dr. Le’s skills, cardiac defibrillators can be implanted and biventricular pacemaker insertions can be performed at the hospital.

Although there is no plan to perform open-heart surgery here at this time, patients will continue to have access for this procedure through the Sacred Heart Regional Heart and Vascular Institute in Pensacola.

The Sacred Heart Cancer Center should open in April with twelve semi-private chemotherapy chairs and two private beds that will double the space of the old center. The radiology equipment for cancer treatment will remain in the hospital. In addition to the services at the Cancer Center, affiliation with MD Anderson Physicians Network will give local cancer patients access to the latest treatments and research findings.

The Cancer Center will occupy the first floor in the new building in the Mack Bayou Center, while Sacred Heart Medical Group OB/GYN physicians will relocate from the medical center to the second floor of the building.

With the continued growth at the hospital, parking sometimes appears to be stretched to its limits, but a new parking lot behind the hospital is in the works for associates, which should ease that situation.

Along with the increase in new facilities, the hospital anticipates a bed expansion. The additional rooms will be constructed in available space on the second floor. The hospital will soon begin a campaign to fund the project.

In an effort to provide preventative care to the community, health fairs offering free screenings are held each year. The Children’s Health Fair, scheduled in April, offers a day of fun activities, but also provides pediatric screenings, leading to the next program the hospital plans to develop: pediatric services. There are plans to make available some of the services offered at the Children’s Hospital in Pensacola throughout the region, says Bailey.

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Joyce Owen

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