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Gwinnett Medical Opens Heart Center

The hospital received a $3.2-million dollar donation from Clyde and Sandra Strickland of Lawrenceville to help build the center.

Years of dreams have finally become a reality at .

The Lawrenceville hospital opened its new Strickland Heart Center this week. The center is named for its major benefactors Clyde and Sandra Strickland, who donated $3.2 million to the project.

“The significant generosity of the Stricklands helped us realize the vision of advanced and comprehensive cardiovascular services in the Gwinnett community at an accelerated pace,” said Phil Wolfe of Duluth, president and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center in an announcement about the Dec. 5 opening. “Without their gift, it would have taken much longer to pay for the new Heart & Vascular Center."

The opening of the new center means Gwinnett residents will not have to travel as far to receive the treatment they need. “We built this facility because the community realized the importance of cardiac services in Gwinnett,” said Dr. Manfred Sandler of Duluth, GMC’s medical director of cardiology and chairman of the GMC Foundation. 

The center features an investment of $8 million in the latest life-saving technology and represents a capital investment of $33 million.

The 40,000-square-foot center houses advanced technology, including state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs and operating rooms, which are also much larger than the previous ones. On a tour of the facility, Nurse Wayne Gaskin told Patch about the spaciousness of the new Cath Labs. "The old labs were about 650 square feet including the control room. These new labs are 950."

There were also just two labs in the old facility, but once the Strickland Heart Center is fully completed, there will be a total of four. Gaskin said the heart and vascular center treated 2,000 cases in years past, but expects to double that with the new facility.

The second Cath Lab is not operational yet, but should be ready by Christmas.

Patients can also have a more comfortable recovery. The new center features private rooms where families can be with their loved ones. "Before, our rooms were split with just a curtain between the patients," said Gaskin.

The nurses station also received an upgrade, creating a better flow and more functional environment.

Another major factor in the design is openness. The windows lining the hallways from the labs and operating rooms look out into the parking lot then over trees and to the bright blue sky. GMC spokesperson Beth Okun said this was done for a couple of reasons -- first off all, to be more soothing to the patients and second to allow more natural light inside the building.

The two Cardiovascular Operating Rooms are 750 square feet each in size. They also feature the latest technology, including integrated video. This projects the procedure on video screens, allowing surgeons and nurses to have a clear view of the surgery as it happens. "It used to be that nurses had to have 'OR hearing.' They had to listen to what was going on and determine what the surgeon needed," said Nurse Wendy Moran. Now the nurses are able to watch the surgery and see the procedure making for a faster and smoother process.

The ICU for the CVOR is still under construction, but should be ready before the end of the year. It will be located a stone's throw from the operating room so patients will not have to travel far to begin their recovery.

This past March, GMC started offering cardiac angioplasty and stenting. The hospital plans to launch its open heart surgery program in January 2012.

Gwinnett Medical Center has campuses in Lawrenceville and Duluth.

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