Seton Hays triples number of heart surgeries from previous years

Seton Medical Center Hays (KXAN photo)
Seton Medical Center Hays (KXAN photo)

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) – Seton Medical Center Hays is setting a milestone after completing 100 heart surgeries in one year. Officials with the hospital say this is triple the number from previous years.

“Two years ago we were in the 30’s and no we’re over a hundred,” said Medical Affairs Vice President Fausto Meza.

The hospital is located near Interstate 35 in Kyle, serving Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties as well as the New Braunfels community.

The hospital credits the increase in surgeries to Dr. Jeffrey McNeil, a new cardiothoracic surgeon. McNeil began operating at Seton Hays last summer. But the hospital says the increase also has to do with an influx of people to Hays County and many not wanting to drive down I-35.

“There has been an increase in demand, maybe that demand has gone to San Antonio or to Austin and people here in the community, they want to stay local, they don’t want to travel,” said Meza.

Last August, 69-year-old Denver Pletcher found himself in that exact situation when he was doing yard work.

“Every now and then I would get this feeling, this tightening, this little tightening in my chest,” said Pletcher.

Pletcher asked his wife to drive him to the hospital, Seton Medical Center Hays was the closest one, only a 20 minute drive from his home and zero traffic. Once at the hospital, he soon discovered he was having a heart attack. Doctors quickly got him into surgery where he had a quadruple coronary artery bypass.

“The doctor said what you really had was four blocked arteries, he said ‘we took care of it, we took an artery out of your leg,'” said Pletcher. “It feels like it never even happened, because I am doing the same things I was doing before surgery.”

The hospital is currently under construction to add an extra 30 beds, it also says it’s in the process of becoming a level 3 trauma hospital.

The hospital is a level 4 right now. The biggest difference, a level 3 trauma center provides 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists.

“We hear from our patients that they don’t want to travel, so we’re here for them, we’re going to continue a path to growth,” said Meza.

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