St. Thomas Rutherford Requesting Cardiac Surgery Program

Jun 22, 2021 at 12:29 pm by WGNS


(MURFREESBORO)  With the growth in Rutherford County along with the people living in the contiguous counties who depend on the medical services here, Ascension St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital filed a Certificate of Need with the state to develop a cardiac surgery program.  The hearing on the request is set for 9:00 o’clock Wednesday (6/23/2021). It is likely that a decision will be made at that time.

Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Chief of Cardiac Surgery Evelio Rodriguez, MD, noted,  “Currently there is not a cardiac surgery program to serve the growing communities between Murfreesboro and Chattanooga. Ascension Saint Thomas Heart physicians are committed to building a cardiac surgery program that will provide the community with an excellent option for care.”  

Ascension St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital President and CEO Gordon Ferguson explained, “As part of our Ministry, we are committed to providing outstanding care to our patients and identifying services that our community is having to go elsewhere to receive. Our goal is to provide a much-needed service for our patients and our community so they can stay closer to home for their cardiac surgery needs.”

A cross-section of state and local elected officials, ministers, individuals representing area medical and financial groups and other citizens filed support for the hospital’s request. CLICK HERE to see the letters

One of those letters was from WGNS’ owner Bart Walker.

He said, “Back in 2011, my Primary Care Physician Tom Wolohon, MD, was concerned with some symptoms that I was experiencing. After tests, he referred me to Cardiologist Britt Mioton. MD.”

On an early June morning in 2011, Walker was scheduled for a stent procedure to be completed at the Murfreesboro hospital. Angioplasty and stenting are considered minimally invasive non-surgical procedures with a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery. However, it did not go that way. As Dr. Mioton prepared him for the local procedure, it was determined that a triple-bypass was needed instead.

Walker recalled, “I was quickly transferred by ambulance from Murfreesboro to Saint Thomas West in Nashville where I underwent open heart surgery that same day.”

He noted, “After surgery, my wife stayed with me for the duration at the hospital. Our adult children, minister and friends were part of that vital support that helped me recover. They traveled the two hours or more daily, depending on traffic, to give the special connection that nurtured me to a full recovery.”

Walker concluded, “I can say without a doubt that Dr. Mioton and the heart surgeons at West helped save my heart from more future damage, and thankfully I never had a heart attack. After my surgery, the wonderful staff at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital helped me to regain my strength with their excellent therapy program. At 76 years of age now, I am thankful for my health and the faith-based staff at St. Thomas.”

Walker’s letter to the state in support of a heart surgery program at Ascension St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital concluded with, “The transfer by ambulance and the days spent at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville could have been avoided if we had an advanced program here in Murfreesboro. I pray we can continue to build up the services at Saint Thomas Rutherford for the people who need their care.” 

With Rutherford County's population now in the 350,000 person range, and expected to explode to 650,000 by 2050, making it Tennessee's third largest county. The cardiac surgery unit is needed now.  That decision rests in the hands and hearts of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency. NewsRadio WGNS will let you know their decision.

Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital Open Heart Surgery Service (CN2103-009)

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