Last updated: January 30. 2014 10:29AM - 445 Views
Story and Photos By Alberta Stojkovic

An Echocardigram unit uses ultrasound to test heart function. At left, Echo Technologist, Kelly Beck, BSBA, CCT, and MCH Radiology Director, Russ Merrin, BS, RT(R) (N), CNMT, NCT with the unit that is used for this “first step test” and is made on the referral of a physician or cardiologist.
An Echocardigram unit uses ultrasound to test heart function. At left, Echo Technologist, Kelly Beck, BSBA, CCT, and MCH Radiology Director, Russ Merrin, BS, RT(R) (N), CNMT, NCT with the unit that is used for this “first step test” and is made on the referral of a physician or cardiologist.
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With all the changes in health care and health insurance over the past couple years, Mount Gilead resident Patsy Westbrook is glad she can depend on the Morrow County Hospital and her Morrow County Primary Care Physician, Dr. Grant Galbraith.

“They do a great job at our Morrow County Hospital and they are all very caring,” Westbrook said. “When they have a survey, I always give them the highest marks possible.”

Westbrook also expressed appreciation that Dr. Galbraith has directed her for tests both at Morrow County Hospital (MCH) and also to specialists in the Heart and Vascular division of Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus. She believes she has had the best care with local physicians and Cardiologist, Dr. Fu in Columbus. Since MCH is an Ohio Health Hospital, the transition from Morrow County Hospital to Riverside Methodist Hospital specialists in Columbus has been very smooth for her.

The question of what cardiology services and physicians are available in MCH was brought up by Frances Turner as a group of long-time cardiologists chose to leave MCH to have a new affiliation with Ohio State University Hospital and the Avita Health System at Galion Hospital. Turner asked the Sentinel to look into what plans have been made as Cardiologists Lawrence Murcko, MD, Mary Beth Breckenridge, MD and Debbra Debaets, MD leave their MCH offices on Jan.31st.

Morrow County Hospital Director Chris Truax pointed out that the hospital has been preparing diligently over the past two years for the changes as those cardiologists left. MCH has hired specialists as well as purchasing new state-of-the-art testing equipment for the Morrow County Hospital.

Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, MD is an Interventional Cardiologist who has been a member of the Morrow County Medical staff since 2012. Dr. Ahmed has office hours and sees patients at the Morrow County Hospital every weekday. He completed his internship and residency at Cabrini Medical Center in New York and completed his fellowship at Brown University in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology. He also has medical staff membership at Marion General Hospital and Riverside Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Mitchell Silver, DO, is also a dedicated Heart and Vascular Specialist at Morrow County Hospital. Dr. Silver sees patients at MCH several days each month and is part of the Ohio Health Heart & Vascular Physicians group that evaluate patients for comprehensive services that target arterial, venous and lymphatic diseases.

Locally at Morrow County Hospital, patients can have testing including carotid, lower extremity arterial and venous and vascular screening. Cutting-edge equipment has been purchased by the hospital for Echocardiograms and Stress tests. Nuclear Medicine Imaging is now also available and nuclear scans of the heart can now be used to detect coronary artery disease and measure the heart’s function. Access to the Ohio Health Stroke Network through MCH Emergency Department has been another life-saving service over the past few years. The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation unit is also valuable for many Morrow County residents.

A tour of the eastern wing (former Extended Care, ECF) of the hospital takes you through several refurbished rooms that house some of the cutting edge equipment used in non-invasive vascular testing. Physicians can order an Echocardiogram that is a diagnostic test, which shows how the heart is functioning. This test uses ultrasound, which has high pitched sound waves that pick up “echoes” that bounce off different parts of the heart.

Morrow County Hospital Radiology Director Russ Merrin explained that these echoes form moving pictures that can be viewed on a computer monitor. MCH computer system is interconnected with Ohio Health so that the digital readings from all the testing can be viewed immediately and evaluated by the Heart and Vascular specialists at MCH and other locations.

Patients can benefit from cutting-edge endovascular procedures including carotid artery stenting, AAA stent grafts and limb salvage revascularization. These services are available at Riverside Hospital in Columbus.

Merrin noted that the transition from Morrow County Hospital to Riverside or Marion General Hospital is seamless and smooth because of the excellent communication system between the physicians, the hospitals and the specialists of Ohio Health. He added that although MCH is a much smaller hospital, it is required to keep the same high standards in all the testing and other services.

Merrin emphasized the importance of Morrow County Hospital’s partnership with Ohio Health and Riverside Hospital over the years. This partnership is very valuable to Morrow County hospital because he said a small, rural hospital could hardly exist alone without a partner. The partnering is especially important because it allows a smooth transition of the patient and their information and test results to go immediately to Riverside or Marion General Hospital and to specialists. The Ohio Health connection is also beneficial because of the information they share in groups like his radiology peer group as well as in their cooperation for purchasing power.

“We are very fortunate to have our hospital here in Morrow County,” concluded Patsy Westbrook. “I really appreciate being able to have so many services close to home.”

Chairman of the MCH Board Pat Drouhard added that we are very fortunate to have the leadership of Director Chris Truax at the Hospital.

“I have full confidence in the leadership of Chris Truax as we go forward in the future,” Drouhard said. “He really has the knowledge and the expertise to work with the changes that our hospital is experiencing.”

For more information about the services at Morrow County Hospital you can find information about the cardiologists and cardiology services on line at www.morrowcountyhospital.com. Contact information and many of the issues of their newsletter “Pulse” are also available to read online.

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