by Isabel Long
For being such a small city, I bet you haven’t stopped to think about health care availability in Charlottesville. The main two hospitals in Charlottesville are Martha Jefferson and UVa. These two hospitals excel in healthcare and are some of the most prestigious in the area.
UVa Medical Center was rated second in Central Virginia and seventh in the state. Martha Jefferson was fifth in Central Virginia and eleventh statewide, actually tied with Bon- Secours St. Mary’s Hospital In Henrico County and Virginia Hospital Center Arlington.
UVa Medical Center ranked in the top 25 percent in specialties such as cancer, diabetes, endocrinology, gynecology, nephrology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and urology. UVa even had two pediatric programs, neonatology and urology, ranked on the top 50 Best Children’s Hospital guide by US News.
In the 2012-13 ranking, UVa was number four in the state. Martha Jefferson was number fourteen. In the 2013-14 ranking, UVa remained number four, but Martha Jefferson was boosted up to number eight.
A report from 2014 says that the UVa Medical Center has 570 beds. In 2013, the UVa Health System employed 9,473 nurses and full time equivalent employees. According to Martha Jefferson’s website they have 176 beds and employ 1,700 people.
Both Martha Jefferson and UVa are equipped with an amazing staff of nurses and doctors such as Dr. Scott Lim, a world renown cardiologist that works at UVa. Dr. Lim was born and raised in Sunnyvale, California with his two brothers and parents. He graduated from The University of California with his undergraduate in 1987, then with his medical degree in 1992 from Mayo Clinic. He works part time at UVa and part time at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, all while being part of a clinic based in The Dominican Republic among other places.
“I’m both pediatric, meaning I help children and their families when children have heart problems,” said Dr. Lim. “I’m also an adult cardiologist, meaning that I help adults who have generally acquired issues.”
Dr. Lim came to Charlottesville and began to work at the UVa Medical Center. “I started what we now call the Advanced Cardiac Valve Center, where I’ve brought together a number of physicians [and] nurses to create a center for people who are not only struggling with heart valve problems, but we’ve been able to bring to them newer and less invasive ways of treating it,” he said.
He has worked tirelessly for a few years now in order to perfect a new type of heart surgery. “For many of us, as we get older, our heart valves begin to wear out, partly because people are living longer than we ever expected. Traditional heart surgery involves opening up the heart, therefore opening up the chest, to repair or replace that dysfunctional part. Well, that works very well for many people, but for some of our more elderly or very young the recovery from that is very difficult. One of the things I’ve had the opportunity to pioneer is a novel less invasive way, where we can repair a leaking heart valve, or we can even replace a blocked up heart valve, and we do it all from catheters.”
Catheters are thin medical tools used to perform surgical procedures and treat diseases. Catheters are fairly new to the medical world, especially in heart procedures.
“[Catheters are] thin, long, spaghetti like tubes that we introduce from the blood vessels in the leg leading up to the heart.. and we do that without having to open up the chest or without having to be very invasive to people, therefore they heal up that much quicker.”
Dr. Lim looks forward to continue working at UVa and collaborating to developing further medical inventions.
“One of the things I see us moving forward in the future is what I would almost call personalized medicine where we can figure out not only what is wrong with individual person’s heart but be able to tailor the solution, tailor the surgeries directly for them,” said Dr. Lim.