Closer is always better when you need heart care

I was wondering when John Fox, CEO of Emory Healthcare, would finally make his presence known. He tried his best ("County has what it needs to treat hearts," June 3, Page 6A) to save some face on his decision but failed on all points.

First, there have been many recent medical articles written on the overuse of the angioplasty procedure. The angioplasty procedure cannot be used until the EMS gets the person to an emergency room. If open-heart surgery is needed, the patient again must be moved 20 to 30 miles away to another hospital, like St. Joseph's. This procedure should not be used like taking an aspirin for a headache. For a patient to have quality health care, an immediate and proper diagnosis is necessary at the first hospital stop. Why does Fox desire a patient to be moved twice?

Secondly, in every single case that I have knowledge of, when a person called 911, they were immediately admitted to the hospital for surgery.

Lastly, Fox has shown that he doesn't know much about the people in Gwinnett and where they live, nor their health situations. His statement that St. Joseph's Hospital "is just five miles from the Gwinnett County border and is closer to many Gwinnett County residents than Gwinnett Medical Center or any other hospital," simply shows his lack of understanding outside of his jurisdiction. The majority of the county's residents do not live along the Gwinnett border.

And what about the people that live farther away than Gwinnett but much closer to Gwinnett than to St. Joseph's? What about the fact that I could never in my lifetime reach St. Joseph's Hospital in less than 30 minutes even when there is no traffic?

Fox's viewpoint is exactly that. He is concerned about the lost revenues his system may face if Gwinnett is allowed to have its own open-heart surgery center and not in saving the lives of as many people as possible.

If Fox lived in north Gwinnett, would he trust his family's heart care to a hospital 25 miles away using Interstates 85, 75, or 285?