Heart surgery receives blow

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has reversed the approval of Shelby Baptist Medical Center to perform open-heart surgery and related invasive cardiology services.

However, a Baptist Health System official has said the hospital will continue to pursue appeal options and in the interim will continue to provide open heart and invasive cardiology at SBMC.

April Holcomb, director of marketing and strategic planning for SBMC, announced the court’s decision last week.

Mark Bryan, chief operating officer, for Baptist Health System expressed his dismay with the appeal’s court decision.

“We are very disappointed with the court’s decision.

We are especially concerned about the impact this will have on the people of Shelby County and their access to these life-saving services.

Bryan said the clear need for such critical medical care in the state’s fastest-growing county is demonstrated by the recent demand for cardiac services at SBMC.

Since the hospital performed its first open-heart surgery last August, he said, more than 155 patients and their families have benefited from the service. In addition, he said, about 480 patients and their families have benefited from cardiac stenting procedures.

A motion filed previously by Brookwood Medical Center and the State Health Planning and Development Agency was denied. That motion was also an attempt to stop SBMC from performing open heart surgery while Brookwood’s appeal to a court decision was outstanding.

Circuit Court Judge Benjamin A. Fuller had ruled that a denial of Shelby Baptist’s open heart application by the SHPDA Certificate of Need Review Board was due to be reversed.

“The court finds that the board acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner, abused its discretion and issued a ruling which was clearly erroneous in view of the substantial evidence on the whole record,” the judge wrote.

Following that order, SHPDA granted a certificate of need to Shelby Baptist to perform the surgery in Shelby County.

Following the latest setback by the Court of Civil Appeals, Bryan said, “Baptist Health System plans to aggressively pursue its appeal options so that it can continue to provide these critical services for the people of Shelby County, in a faith-based environment.

“In the interim, we plan to continue providing open heart and invasive cardiology at Shelby Baptist Medical Center.