PINEHURST — FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital recently reached a surgery milestone.
In August, Rose Lebo, a Robbins resident, became the hospital’s 8,000th open-heart surgery patient. In September 1990, Dewey McClendon, a Montgomery County resident, was the first person to have open-heart surgery at Moore Regional.
Twenty-seven years of improvements in technology, medication, training and technique separate the two procedures, but the surgeons who performed them – Dr. John F. Krahnert Jr. and Dr. Peter I. Ellman – agree that the high level of care, commitment and teamwork for which the FirstHealth open-heart program has become known has never changed.
Nor do they expect it to.
“We’ve stayed true to our core values,” Krahnert said. “For me, what we have done from the first patient to the 8,000th is truly patient-centered care. We treat our patients like we would treat our own family. We’ve built the program on that approach.”
“I feel blessed to work with the team we have here,” Ellman said. “It is a team effort that includes our office staff, operating room surgical technologists and circulating nurses, perfusionists, nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologists, the nursing staff, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, discharge planners and social workers. I feel very lucky to be a part of a program that really delivers world-class cardiovascular care for the people who live in the Sandhills of North Carolina.”
A disabled restaurant worker, the 53-year-old Lebo was admitted to Moore Regional’s Reid Heart Center on Aug. 2 after suffering a heart attack, her third in a long history of heart disease. She had open-heart surgery — a three-artery bypass — a week later, was moved out of intensive care into an intermediate-care nursing unit the next day and went home five days after the operation.
Despite a condition complicated by diabetes and blocked arteries, she is doing well.
“She’s young to have such bad heart disease, but her prognosis is very good,” Ellman said. “We got her through a very precarious, life-threatening situation, and I’m glad to see her get back to her life as she knew it before her heart attack.”
Lebo described her unexpected entry into Moore Regional Hospital history as “kind of exciting,” but the experience as “kind of scary.”
“The nurses and staff were great,” she said. “There was not one time that if I needed someone that someone wasn’t there. Dr. Ellman has been very, very nice. God was with the doctors and nurses. They were wonderful, and I thank God every day that I’m alive.”