LRMC cardiac lab opening celebrated



Lea Regional Medical Center celebrated the opening of its new cardiac catheterization laboratory Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new cardiac catheterization laboratory includes around $1.5 million of new equipment. Doctors Charles H. Moore, from Houston, and Dr. Chip Uricchio, from Philadelphia, will treat patients in the lab.

Tim Thornell, LRMC CEO, said the new lab will help diagnose and treat patients with cardiac irregularities. He said the new service builds upon the hospital’s national accreditations from the Society for Cardiovascular Patient Care for Chest Pain, Heart Failure, and a Stroke Certification from the American Heart Association.

“We have new cath lab equipment, very well trained and seasoned physicians and we brought in a dedicated cath lab crew,” Thornell said. “All the cath lab team has an average 10 years experience and know what they are doing. We want to bring quality care locally.”

Uricchio said with the cardiac catheterization lab available in Hobbs and not having to travel for treatment, patients throughout the area have better chances of having less heart damage and better results after experiencing heart attack symptoms.

“When you have a heart attack, you've closed an artery in the heart and you only have a couple of hours to get it open,” he said. “If you have to travel, that counts against that couple of hours in addition to the time it takes to do the procedure. There’s no room for travel time. The advantage is the sooner you get it (the artery) open the less heart damage and the patients live longer and everything goes better.”

Moore said much of the time people suffering from cardiac irregularities receive treatment late. He said Lea Regional’s new catheterization lab will help offer the early treatments, which can help save lives.

“Coronary disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S.,” Moore said. “A lot of times people have major issues or limitations when they either can’t receive early treatment or receive treatment late. What I tell patients when we are doing these evaluations and procedures is we’re doing it so that hopefully they’ll have a longer and better life.”

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Ron Black, Lea County commissioner district 3, said the new catheterization lab gives an option for Lea County residents to find quality health care locally and will keep funds in the local economy.

“This is a great event for Lea County. Several years ago the Lea County commission had a health study and one of the things it showed was an awful lot of money was flowing out of Lea County to Texas counties for medical service,” Black said.

“What we’re seeing today is a big step forward for progress. A lot of lives are going to be saved. I really appreciate what Lea Regional has done, this is a major step forward.”