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Unveiling Sanford's New Heart Hospital

February 22, 2012, 6:15 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Unveiling Sanford's New Heart Hospital
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A new hospital will soon open in Sioux Falls aimed at preventing the number one killer in America.

Sanford Health held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new heart hospital on Wednesday. Those connected with the multi-million dollar building say it can help save lives.

Paul Harris' grandchildren hold a special place in his wallet and his heart. That's why he knew he had to do something when doctors told him his heart was failing.

"Get a defibrillator put in or you're going to die. I thought, 'I don't want that'. I have 17 grandkids, and I have a lot of grandpa-ing to do yet," Harris said.

Thanks to the defibrillator, 81-year-old Harris is still here eight years later and he's able to see the new Sanford Heart Hospital that could help others in his shoes.

The new Sanford Heart Hospital opens next week. Doctors say it offers the latest in cardiac care.

"Five years ago, I probably wouldn't even think we'd be into a facility like this," Sanford Director of Cardiac Surgery Dr. John Vanderwoude said.

Vanderwoude has performed heart surgery for 25 years.

"This is probably going to be the best hybrid suite anywhere in the nation," Vanderwoude said.

Sanford Cardiology Medical Director Dr. Tom Stys says a new operating room will allow doctors to perform procedures that are not possible at the current Sanford hospital. The room also allows a surgeon and interventional cardiologist to work side-by-side in the same room.

"We can do some of the surgical approach and some of the minimally-invasive catheter approach together to treat the same patients just as effectively and less invasively," Stys said.

The room also has the latest technology, like large cameras to look at patient's hearts, a big screen to project x-rays and a camera to communicate with doctors in other areas.

"Time is everything sometimes in the procedural area where you deal with the heart, so you have to be quick, efficient and safe," Stys said.

Time with his grandchildren is what Harris has thanks to advancements in medical technology.

"Or I wouldn't be here. I'd have flopped over somewhere, and that would have been it," Harris said.

Medical advancements that are increasing in South Dakota, thanks to this new hospital.

If you would like to check out the Sanford Heart Hospital, Sanford will hold an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 25.

Watch video from the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the video player below.

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