[Source: Betty Reid, Arizona Republic] – St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center will open its eight-story Heart & Lung Institute Tower to patients Sunday. The $15 million addition to the hospital will meet a growing demand by lung patients for transplants. Heart patients will have a floor dedicated to their care.The lung-transplant service, added in 2007, now has a home in the tower that is 37,000 square feet and covers three floors and four units. The lung-transplant tower at St. Joseph’s is the only medical center in the Valley to do lung transplants. Doctors did the first one in April 2007 and so far has done 11 transplants. Before then, Valley patients who needed such care were referred to medical facilities in Tucson or California.
This year, they expect to treat many more patients. The new tower previously had been the Barrow Neurological Institute, which also has a new space in a different tower. Julie Ward, vice president of nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital, said the new feature enhances the medical center’s 113-year-old goal of delivering outstanding medical care. “Our mission calls for us to provide patients with the best care possible and to grow and develop our clinical services as our community expands,” Ward said. “The opening of the Heart & Lung Tower is the latest example of our mission in action.”Placing care for heart and lung patients in one area means workflow at nurse stations will improve and each patient room is connected to a central monitoring unit, hospital officials said. The operating suites at the towers also have upgraded technology.”The new space and technology will allow us to provide world-class, disease-specific care to our patients,” said Tony Hodges, medical director of St. Joseph’s Center for Thoracic Disease and Transplantation. “The telemedicine capabilities in our new operating room are unparalleled regionally. This will not only enhance patient care and outcomes but allow us to grow our research and educational mission as well.”