Let Shelby Baptist show its heart

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Why can’t hospitals just get along?

Why must Brookwood Medical Center fight Shelby Baptist Medical Center for trying to provide the people of Shelby County a convenient hospital close to their homes for open heart surgery?

A judge recently reversed a decision by the State Health Planning and Development Agency

(SHPDA) to deny SBMC the right to perform open heart surgery and therapeutic cardiac catheterization services.

SBMC has to date performed five open heart surgeries, all successful.

Now while Brookwood is appealing the judge’s decision in the state court of

civil appeals,which could be a delay of up to eight months they are asking that SBMC stop performing the surgeries.

Shelby County is such a fast and booming county that there are certainly more than enough heart patients to go around. In the year 2000 SBMC had to send 300 open heart surgery patients to other hospitals. In the past year, with other heart related procedures incljuded, the number was 1,000 sent elsewhere.

People of Shelby County have the choice of hospitals at their disposal. If they want they can choose to go to Brookwood, St. Vincent’s or UAB and many do. But those who want to stay close to home should have that option as well.

Shelby Baptist has already proven that it can perform successful open heart surgery. Why should a patient who presents with a heart emergency at SBMC be packed off to another hospital for something that could have been done at the first facility they reached?

A dilution of the qualify of care as claimed by Brookwood seems a bit of a stretch. There are plenty of qualified surgeons and doctors to go around