By Rick Cawley

For the Review

The Roxborough Memorial Hospital recently held an event to christen their new Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Selected members of community organizations were invited to witness a ribbon cutting ceremony held on the 4th floor wing which will feature state-of-the-art technology to help treat heart issues with minimally invasive techniques.

The “heart cath” facility will enable our community to have a localized first class trauma unit that will provide cutting edge technology to accurately diagnose and treat cardiac disease and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis).

Roxborough Memorial cardiologists can use catheter procedures such as angiography, where physicians can observe high resolution imaging of the heart and coronary arteries. Catheters are also used in coronary angiography which involves inserting a tiny balloon that is used to open up clogged arteries and restore adequate blood flow as well as the insertion of stents to prevent blood vessels from closing or collapsing.

Cardiac catheterization involves a thin tube that is usually inserted through an opening in the wrist, arm, or groin under light sedation and guided to into the heart and surrounding vessels where cardiologists can monitor heart function and the integrity of pertinent blood vessels that supply oxygen to it.

During the dedication ceremony attendees were socially distanced along a hallway leading to the newly minted Cath wing. Chief Nursing Officer Kelly Cummings provided opening remarks and served as emcee for the introduction of guest speakers. She summarized a brief history of the hospital which has been laying a foundation for healing in our community for 130 years and with this new healthcare investment, will be able to provide enhanced services for generations to come.

The invocation was earnestly handled by Rev. Carl Knapp. Mike Zacniewski of the Northwest Veterans Association mentioned how proud he was to represent the vets in our community and the many services that have been provided to them by the hospital over the decades.

Interim CEO Dr. Sonya Mehta recalled the 4 year process of creating the lab that will provide much needed services to our neck of the woods. Dr. Mehta conveyed her gratitude the for host of contributors that helped make the Cath Lab a reality. She also took a minute to introduce the hospital’s new CEO, H. Burton Piper, who expressed his excitement about taking the reins on Oct. 12.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Lenahen acknowledged the “big achievement” in offering a place to stay local and still dispense immediate top-grade “life-saving measures to those needing cardiac care.” Cardiologist Dr. Joseph Hellman, who assumes the role of Primary Proceduralist at the lab, communicated his joy to be afforded such a superb working environment and an outstanding supportive staff.

State Rep. Pam DeLissio closed out the slate of captivating speakers by recounting some of her personal experiences with the exceptional work done by the RMH over the years in serving our neighborhood and her appreciation in having such prestigious facility in our own backyard.

Following the ribbon cutting, attendees, in small clusters, were given a chance to look over the new wing up close. They were then treated to a reception with staff as well as a choice of scrumptious boxed dinners, courtesy of Winnie’s Restaurant in Manayunk, and a goodies bag of very usable items including insulated water bottles, hand sanitizers, and handi-wipes.

It is crystal clear that the creation of the Cardiac Cath Lab was a “labor of love” for all of those who had a hand in bringing it to fruition. One such individual is lifelong Roxborough resident Nicole “Nikki” Alerding, RN and MSN, who serves as RMH’s Quality Improvement Director as well as Patient Safety Officer. Reese “assisted the cath lab and leadership with regulatory requirements to ensure we are prepared to provide the community with safe, quality care in our lab.” Reese is indicative of the level of dedicated professionalism and sense of caring exhibited by the full spectrum of staff serving at the hospital. To that point she added “I will continue to work with the cath lab team to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our patients. Patient safety is our priority and we continue to utilize the best evidence-based practices.”

Another key contributor to the development of the Cardiac Cath Lab was Director of Radiology, Leslie Finnegan, who played an essential role in the planning and purchasing of ultramodern diagnostic equipment, as well as the coordination of the team that got the lab up and running.

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