The Case for Open Heart Surgery at Cabarrus
It was a clear, crisp October morning in Concord, North Carolina. The board of trustees of Cabarrus Memorial Hospital gathered in the windowless, walnut paneled boardroom for its monthly meet- ing (see Exhibit 19/1 for board members). Board chairman George Batte opened the meeting saying, “Because we do not have an open heart surgery program, patients needing open heart surgery or coronary angioplasty have to be transferred to another hospi- tal, causing inconvenience to the patient’s families and risks from delayed treatment. There are several questions we have to answer in addressing this issue. ...view middle of the document...
R. S. “Chris” Christy to return to the staff of the hospital after completing his fellowship in cardiovascular surgery. He is being heavily recruited by other medical centers.”
Mr. Batte then asked Bob Wall, president of Cabarrus Memorial Hospital (CMH), to address the board on the issue. Mr. Wall said, “As we all know, our cardiac catheterization service is run by a Duke Medical Center physician. Our intent has been for the surgical portion of the heart program to be provided by Duke. Dr. Christy is completing a heart surgery residency through the Sanger Clinic and wants to return to Concord to practice. Needless to say, we face a dilemma and there are very different points of view in our medical staff as to the structure and relationship involved in developing a full-fledged heart program at CMH. I bring this to your attention now because Dr. Christy has to make a career choice before January 1st.”
Trustee Batte reminded everyone, “Dr. Christy grew up in our community and worked part-time in the hospital while in high school and college. After medi- cal school and a residency in general surgery, he practiced here at CMH prior to leaving to complete his fellowship in cardiovascular surgery. Dr. Christy was very popular among the staff and patients and I, for one, very much want to see him return.” (See Exhibit 19/2 for Dr. Christy’s biography.)
The board had to make its decision about the future of the cardiac program at CMH before offering Dr. Christy a position; however, it was clear that Dr. Christy could not wait too much longer to be offered a position by CMH. He had received multiple offers but, if he delayed, the offers might be withdrawn.
History of Cabarrus Memorial Hospital
The General Assembly of North Carolina passed legislation in 1935 that enabled Cabarrus County to establish a public hospital. Through the guidance of Mr. Charles A. Cannon, owner of Cannon Mills, the area’s largest employer, and
THE CARDIAC PROGRAM AT CMH
Exhibit 19/2: Dr. R. S. “Chris” Christy
Ralph S. “Chris” Christy was born July 26, 1957 at Cabarrus Memorial Hospital. He was one of two children born to Steve and Rachel Christy, hardworking owners of Christy’s Nursery in Concord. Chris was educated in the Cabarrus County School system and played football for NorthWest Cabarrus High School. He married Kay Moore, also from Concord, in 1977 and together they embarked on the adventure of Chris becoming a physician. Chris graduated from Davidson College with a BS and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a medical degree. He then attended a surgical residency program at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah. After his residency, Chris returned to Concord and joined the surgical practice of Flowe, Crooke and Chalfant. Two years later, Chris entered the Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Fellowship program at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte,...