Emergency heart patient has landmark bypass

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A woman showing signs of heart attack has unexpectedly become the 8,000th patient to undergo a bypass procedure at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.

The cardiac milestone case was originally scheduled for another non-urgent patient, but the woman had to be treated first for emergency bypass surgery. 

Senior cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Allen James, who performed the 8,000th procedure, was also working at the Gateshead-based hospital 25 years ago when the first cardiac bypass was undertaken. 

“We’ve got a wonderful unit; I’m still working with people who were involved with the first cardiac cases here at the hospital,” said Dr James, who added that 8,000 procedures is “a fairly big number” for a regional hospital in Australia. 

Scrub nurse Sharon Scotman assisted him in both the initial 1994 bypass and this year’s milestone, alongside senior clinical perfusionist Ray Swart. 

Many of the intensive care specialists and nursing staff have also been at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital – part of the Ramsay Health Care group – since the service was first offered. 

“I think Newcastle people are very loyal, they are loyal to the city and they are also loyal to the unit they work at and it is a unit of excellence really,” Dr James said. 

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