It’s been more than 30 years since physicians at Memorial Hospital (BMH) performed the first cardiac procedure, a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Since 1987, a lot has changed. The small eight-bed cardiac unit has evolved into a comprehensive cardiovascular center, offering the latest advancements and the highest quality heart care for patients in Kern County.
At the heart of Memorial’s cardiac program is Michele Shain, Senior Director of Cardiovascular and Neuroscience Services. Shain began her career at BMH in 1987, the same year as that first PCI, and helped establish what would later become the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center at Memorial Hospital.
“It has really evolved over the years. The complexities of the patients that we treat now are much higher. We’ve also expanded the type of procedures we can do,” said Shain. “We have a group of highly skilled people who are passionate about what they do. I want the community to understand how sophisticated our program is. There is no need to travel to Los Angeles or the Bay area to receive high-quality care. We offer the same level of care here at home.”
The Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center offers the latest cardiovascular advancements in technology and procedures to minimize pain and shorten recovery times. Cardiac specialists, nurses, and support staff consistently meet the highest quality and safety standards to earn prestigious accreditations and certifications. Memorial Hospital is a STEMI receiving facility (STEMI stands for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infraction, the deadliest type of heart attack) and has earned Chest Pain Accreditation from the American College of Cardiology, as well as Mission: Lifeline Accreditation through the American Heart Association.
“Certifications are important because they show that we’ve demonstrated to outside entities that we can perform to the highest level and we can deliver the standard of care that is set forth by those organizations, which leads to better outcomes for our patients.”
The top priority for the cardiac team at Memorial is delivering compassionate patient care to those who need it most. Shain notes that from the highly trained emergency room nurses to the cardiovascular techs who work alongside physicians, “The cardiac services program at Memorial is truly a team of heart health professionals. They come to the table with differing expertise that all blend together to provide a continuity of care for patients.”
While doctors and nurses continually strive to make a difference in their patient's lives, sometimes, the patients leave a lasting impression in their hearts.
“In 2016, I had a patient undergoing a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). He was really looking forward to getting his quality of life back so he could dance with his wife,” said Shain. “I took care of the first surgical aortic valve replacement way back when patients would have to be in the intensive care unit for several days on a ventilator. Now, we can replace valves through a catheter-based procedure. This patient was out of bed and walking around the hospital the same night. The next day, when it was time for him to be discharged, I brought him a wheelchair, and he said, ‘I don’t need that! You and I are going to dance all the way out of here,’ and so we did!”
Kern County ranks one of the highest in the state for heart disease. That’s why Memorial Hospital will continue to invest in the latest programs and resources to treat patients here at home. For Shain, that means continuing her mission to take care of our community within our community.
“We will continue to grow. As new technologies and procedures become available, we’ll do what’s necessary to acquire those kinds of things so our physicians can practice cutting-edge medicine,” said Shain. “Cardiac emergencies are time sensitive and do not leave room for patients to have to travel. They need a facility within the community that can treat emergencies as they come up.”