CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs celebrated the completion of a $2 million cardiac catheterization lab expansion project on Monday with a blessing ceremony.
The six-month renovation and expansion project -- which features state-of-the-art equipment, hybrid interventional cath lab resources, 50% increased capacity for serving patients, and upgraded hemodynamic systems -- offers the most advanced equipment available for diagnosing and treating heart disease, CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs President Dr. Doug Ross said, which allows cardiologists to diagnose potential blockages that can affect a patient's quality of life.
The project's completion follows the hospital finishing its first cath lab expansion about two months ago.
"We're tremendously excited. It brings two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratories to this region, and it's really giving the patients that we serve the latest technology available, and it will help save lives," Ross said.
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"Heart disease is such a huge issue. It's the number one cause of death across the United States and such a huge issue in Arkansas, and to be able to provide this community with the latest technology, there's no question it will lead to better outcomes and it will help us save more lives," he said.
Repeatedly recognized for its excellence in heart care, CHI St. Vincent's cardiologists and heart surgeons recently helped the hospital become named the best heart care program in Arkansas by U.S. News & World Report.
"I think the technology is one piece of the equation, but really an even bigger piece of the equation is the people that we have," Ross said. "We have outstanding cardiologists, cardiac surgeons. ... We have more cardiologists and cardiac surgeons on our team than any other heart program in the state of Arkansas, and we're very, very proud to be recently named the No. 1 heart program in the state of Arkansas by U.S. News & World Report."
The recognition is based on the outcomes CHI provides to its patients, Ross said, "And that is from our people -- our doctors, our nurses -- and now we're able to marry those people with the technology, and it's a very exciting day for us."
A cardiac cath lab, a special hospital room where doctors perform minimally invasive tests and procedures to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease, consists of special imaging equipment used to see the arteries and check blood flow to and from the heart.
Michael Miller, CHI St. Vincent's market director for mission integration, who provided the blessing Monday, said that while technology provides the necessary means in helping save lives, it is the human aspect that makes the ultimate difference.
"These cath labs represent something that, not so long ago, was complete alien technology. We could not have done the kinds of things that we can do now to help people. But it's not the technology. I mean, it's all wonderful ... but it doesn't work unless there are people that actually know how to use it. It's no good. It's just a room full of computers unless there are people there to actually take care of the patients -- to provide for them," Miller said.
"A computer has no capacity for compassion -- none whatsoever. We are full of compassion. We are the ones who greet those people at the door and bring them in and make them feel comfortable at a time when they're probably scared. They're very scared. They don't know exactly what all is going on. All they know is that they hope that when we finish doing whatever happens in that lab, that they'll be healthier than when they showed up here," he said.
"We are the ones -- you are the ones -- who take that person and hold their hand. To sit with them, and walk with them, and help them as they go through that process, from the moment they come in, to the moment when they leave."
Ross echoed Miller's statements, noting the combination of such technology with such people will help save more lives.
"The technology is just one piece of the equation," he said. "The people that actually made this work are the most important part of the equation, and we just have a tremendous team here that are committed to our patients, to better outcomes, and doing that in a manner that's consistent with our core values.
"So, again, thank you. It's an exciting day. It seems like it was never going to get here, you know, as we had challenges with COVID and lots of different things, but perseverance is a great trait and I know it was shown by many of you in this hallway," Ross said.