DMC Performs its 20,000th Open Heart Surgery

Jun 13, 2017

Modesto, Calif. – Reaching a major milestone, surgeons at Doctors Medical Center have performed the institution’s 20,000th open heart surgery since 1976, when the hospital first began offering the procedure.

56-year-old Larry Tlascala of Riverbank underwent an eight-way heart bypass surgery, becoming our 20,000th open heart patient. His medical team said he is doing very well in his recovery.

“This is momentous because only a small number of hospitals in the country that have performed this many open heart surgeries, it’s a small club” said James MacMillan, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon who has practiced at Doctors Medical Center since 1978.  “This is a top-notch program – from the nurses who are top-of-the-line professionals to the dedicated anesthesia team to the remarkable group of surgeons that has been here throughout.  The support and resources we receive from the hospital help make it an outstanding program.”

Doctors Medical Center is known for its award-wining cardiac care. Two of the early members of the open heart team – Dr. Macmillan, who joined the hospital in 1978, and Joseph Neal, MD, who arrived in 1981 – are still practicing. Open-heart surgery is defined as any type of surgery in which the chest is cut open and surgery is performed on the muscles, valves, or arteries of the heart.

“Doctors Medical Center is proud of the high-quality heart care we provide to our patients and 20,000 open hearts is a momentous benchmark indeed,” said Warren Kirk, CEO of Doctors Medical Center. “We thank the amazing physicians, staff and countless team members who work to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients.  At such a milestone, we are awed by the sheer magnitude of lives touched – not just the 20,000 patients who received this life-saving surgery at our hospital, but also their spouses, children, parents, siblings, coworkers, friends and many more. We are humbled and grateful for the impact we are able to make on this community and we are committed to keep doing so for our next 20,000 patients.”

One of those patients whose lives were impacted is Sharon Perry. Perry, who also works as Director of Women and Children’s Services at Doctors Medical Center, had her open heart surgery in December 2014.

“When I woke up from my procedure that day, I had several people surrounding me with concerned looks,” she recalled. “The physician said to me, ‘You have at least three blocked arteries that cannot be stented. You need to have surgery and we want to do it tomorrow.’ I said OK quickly because I knew the reputation of both Doctors Medical Center and the cardiac program. I had my surgery on December 20 and left the hospital on December 25. It was the best Christmas present anyone had ever given me!”

She added, “Whenever I walk down the hall at Doctors and see my surgeon, Dr. Minghui Lui, we both smile because I remember how he saved my life and how he came to visit me every day with that same smile while I was in the hospital. I felt so cared for by everyone. Thank you, Doctors Medical Center!”


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