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Saturday May 23rd, 2015 1:55AM

Ronnie Green Heart Center celebrates first decade

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
GAINESVILLE - Ten years ago, the Ronnie Green Heart Center in Gainesville was just a dream. Today, Northeast Georgia Medical Center is becoming known across the country for heart care with honors and distinctions.

Doctor Jeffrey Marshall, an interventional cardiologist with Northeast Georgia Heart Center and medical director of Cardiac Cath Labs at the hospital, has seen the progression first-hand.

"Yeah, it was an honor to be there at the beginning to actually begin taking care of patients with heart attacks and cardiovascular disease in Gainesville instead of having to ship everyone down I-85."

Doctor Dan Winston, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgeons and medical director of Cardiac Surgery at the hospital, has also been there since the beginning.

"Hopefully we're going to have another great ten years. We're very proud of it. We've had fantastic results. Hopefully that will continue to grow."

The heart center is named for Ronnie Green, who died of a sudden heart attack at age 55. It now provides critical care for patients following heart surgery or interventions.

The heart care movement at the medical center was made possible by a $4 million signature gift to The Medical Center Foundation by Frank and Lillie Mae Green. It came from the estate of their son Ronnie, the heart center's namesake.

According to the hospital, over 67,000 heart patients have been cared for at NGMC in the decade. Also during that time, NGMC has been named Georgia's number 1 heart hospital, and top five percent in the nation for cardiac care, for seven years in a row (2006 - 2012, HealthGrades).

The hospital is celebrating the anniversary with the region through a "10 Reasons to Celebrate 10 Years of Healing Hearts" campaign. Officials are posting "10" signs in select locations in Hall County, thanking patients in its advertising and asking people to visit a special website to share their own reasons for celebrating the milestone.
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