When Baroness Erlanger Hospital acquired one of the first heart-lung machines designed to keep patients alive during open-heart surgery in 1960, it was not long before it was used to successfully correct a defective heart valve in a male teen born with a congenital heart condition. It was the region’s first open-heart surgery.
During a recent celebration of “50 Years of Firsts in Heart Care at Erlanger,” a UTC employee was among the honorees recognized with a commemorative award. June Matthews, RN, BSN, University Health Services, earned the award for her good work in helping save a life.
Matthews took a call in fall semester from a person who was experiencing chest pain. She convinced the person to immediately seek medical assistance. With a co-worker at the wheel, the person quickly arrived at the Erlanger Emergency Room. Though a major heart attack followed, physicians declared survival would have been impossible if the person had remained at work or anywhere else besides the hospital.
“June, you are the perfect example of how Erlanger continues to serve the region with excellent heart care,” said Jim Brexler, Erlanger Health System President and CEO.
Along with recognizing honorees, the celebration featured displays of historic and current medical equipment for heart care, and the introduction of the region’s first academic cardiology practice, UT Erlanger Cardiology.