GMC performs 100th open heart surgery

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Less than six months after its first, Gwinnett Medical Center has performed its 100th open heart surgery.

The Lawrenceville hospital's Strickland Heart Center recently performed a double bypass on retired Lawrenceville teacher Patricia Stephens, marking the 100th open heart surgery in its brief history. The center opened in January, and saw its first open heart patients at the end of that month.

"Ms. Stephens is a prime example of why we were driven to open the Strickland Heart Center," GMC CEO Phil Wolfe said in a statement. "Based on our location and comprehensive cardiac services we were able to meet her critical needs while she remained in the community, close to home."

Stephens, 54, was experiencing chest pain and referred by her cardiologist for a diagnostic catheterization. Her subsequent double coronary artery bypass grafting was performed by Dr. David Langford.

"The staff moved like a well-oiled machine providing personal care to my family and me," Stephens said in a new release.

When the Strickland Heart Center opened in January -- following years of legal challenges from Atlanta-area hospitals -- it removed Gwinnett's moniker as the country's largest county without open heart procedures.