Valley View Hospital donor party |

Valley View Hospital donor party

On Saturday night The Valley View Hospital Foundation hosted cocktails and dinner for more than 90 people, many of whom had given more than $10,000 to the new Heart and Vascular Center.

The center plans to open the week of Dec. 11 upon completion of the helipad.

For a heart attack patient, the first ninety minutes are the most important and can often mean the difference between life and death.

Currently, the closest place to air lift a critical patient is St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.

“That’s just too far away,” said Joe Bower, who is the cardiac catheterization lab manager at the center.

A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is severely reduced or stopped. When the blood supply is cut off for more than a few minutes, muscle cells suffer permanent damage and die, which can impair or kill someone, depending on how much damage there is to the heart muscle. “Time is muscle. Muscle is time,” said cardiologist Dr. Frank Laws.

Now Dr. Laws can assess the health of a heart through cardiac catheterization, a minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure used to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease and irregularities of the heart’s electrical system. “This is the gold standard,” he said. While Valley View is designated as one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation, this will likely make it one of the region’s top medical centers. Many credit Valley View Chief Executive Officer Gary Brewer for leading the Valley View team to that goal.

“That’s been their vision since Gary got here,” said Mary Steinbrecher, chairman of the foundation.

Each year the foundation collaborates with the hospital administration and the board of trustees to ascertain the hospital’s needs that go beyond the money available in the hospital’s operating budget.

Last year the foundation raised $200,000 for the stereotactic biopsy equipment that helps diagnose breast cancer.

“This year the foundation raised more than $2 million,” said Frank McSwain, executive director of the foundation.

“The diagnostic center was for convenience,” said McSwain. “The Heart and Vascular Center saves lives.”

Charity makes all of this possible.

“Philanthropy allows the hospital to direct more dollars to the patient’s care,” said Steinbrecher. It also allows the hospital to complete one important project and then move on to the next one.

And for a community-owned, nonprofit hospital, that is the heart of the matter.

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