It begins at 11 a.m., with public tours of the $11 million facility to follow.
“We want to welcome everyone to the Southeastern Heart Center for the Saturday dedication,” said SRMC President and CEO J. Luckey Welsh Jr. “We believe these new cardiovascular services will do many things for our community.”
Welsh first proposed the heart unit in August 1997, when the medical center requested a Certificate of Need, which the state rejected, thus beginning a five-year journey. That request was finally approved in 2002, but only after hundreds of local leaders and residents rallied behind the effort.
Hospital officials have always argued the center was appropriate because of the high rate of heart disease in Robeson County and the hardships on patients and their families who were forced to drive to Durham to get care at Duke University Medical Center.
“First of all, the center will save lives,” Welsh said. “It will also improve the quality of life for those who are treated there for heart disease and it will improve the health-care experience for the families of the patients.”
Managed by Duke University Health System, the center will offer a range of heart care services, from diagnosis to bypass surgery.
“Because it is managed by Duke University Health System, we are bringing world-class heart-care closer to home than ever before,” Welsh said.
Visitors will be able to meet the center's 25-member staff during the dedication. Dr. Terry Lowry, the center's cardiothoracic surgeon and a Prospect native, will be joined by surgeons from Duke.
Those who can't tour the facility on Saturday get two more chances, on Sunday, from 2 to 5 p.m., and on Tuesday, from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be no more public tours before surgery begins later this month.
The new heart unit was created by adding a third floor to the hospital's Diagnostic and Treatment Center. Work on the 29,000-square-foot facility began in November 2004.
All tours will originate from the first floor of the Patient Bed Tower and will last 30 to 45 minutes. What you will see when you step off the elevator is a large reception area. Nearby are two family lounge and waiting areas, one for families of patients in the cardiovascular ICU unit and one for family of patients having procedures in one of the two 900-square-foot operating rooms. Across the hall is a hospitality center with snacks and beverages.
In the three spacious pre-op rooms where patients are prepared for surgery, there is also space for family members to remain nearby. There are six large cardiovascular ICU rooms designed to offer space and comfort for visiting family members.