UT Medical Center

Written by CeCe Owens

In 2009, Barber McMurry designed a four- story specialized Heart Hospital for the University of Tennessee Medical Center, creating a distinctive and welcoming “front door” to the hospital campus.

By 2016, the facility had reached capacity, but the constrained hospital site limited growth options. Barber McMurry designed a vertical expansion that added five stories and 132,600 additional square feet to the existing building. The project was quickly but carefully completed in phases to allow the Heart Hospital to remain fully operational during construction.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center strives to continually improve its facility, providing best-in-class medical operations. The community need to have medical services all in one location isn’t about convenience, it also will improve patient health. Researching the factors that improve a patient’s health was the driving factor behind the expansion of the Heart Hospital. Input was received from physicians, nurses, health care specialists and patients.

Rooms were designed with soothing colors, adjustable lighting, and comfortable sofa beds for family members to spend the night. The waiting areas on all levels have been equally improved to accommodate family, friends and caregivers needing breaks. Built-in snack areas make it convenient with the added luxury of meals delivered by the cafeteria during certain hours, reducing time away from the patient.

This attention to details for reducing stress, increasing social interaction, and improving access to privacy has been shown to help patients heal. It is crucial to the patient’s healing success is to have doctors, nurses and other medical staff dedicated to working exclusively with cardiovascular disease along with a multidisciplinary approach to care and treatment.

The Heart Hospital is within close proximity to the medical center’s cardiovascular intensive care unit, pulmonary unit, cardiac catheterization center, operating rooms, emergency department and UT LIFESTAR allowing ease of access for physicians and staff. Other additions to the Heart Hospital include a new Neuro Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Women’s and Infants unit and the Pulmonary unit.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center has a rich history of utilizing evidence-based practices to ensure that we’re delivering the highest quality of care available, and the Heart Hospital represents that commitment to patients.

It could be the most important 60 seconds of your life! To survive a heart attack, you need to know the signs and how to respond, well before it ever happens. You can’t afford to wait. Continued Cardiac care is maintenance that we all should do, which was exactly how Freddie Atkins of Madisonville was living his life. With regular visits to his doctor, eating healthy and exercising, the marathon running grandfather was making strides in quality of life.

A routine visit triggered a diagnosed need for a stint in his heart and with the latest in innovative procedures at his disposal, it was scheduled at the University of Tennessee Heart Hospital. Dr. Jeffery Johnson, a native of Cleveland, Tennessee provides cardiac care for both Freddie and his wife, Shirley Atkins at University Cardiology. “We completely trust and even enjoy our visits with Dr. Johnson,” said Freddie, “He makes sure we understand everything clearly.”

Freddie arrived for the procedure and fully expected to be heading back home in a few hours, however, that changed when the evaluation determined a triple bypass was required, the damage was too great to ignore. It was a sudden change for the man who had created a healthy heart lifestyle and under the best medical care with whom he relied and trusted. Preventative care is key and becuase he had made that a priority, this sudden change was taking place before a life threatening heart event.

The University of Tennessee Heart Hospital is a ACS-verified Level 1 Trauma Center, the only one in the area and the first in the state to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Cardiac Center Certification. A huge blessing for East Tennessee residents, the best in cardiac care, prevenative or emergency without having to leave the region. For Freddie, this care was now in the hands of Dr. Ben Barton, his appointed cardiovascular surgeon. Dr. Barton is a 1980 graduate of the UT Medical School followed by a Cardiothoracic residency at the pretigious Emory University. Coming to UT Heart Hospital from Vanderbilt, he provides both excellent patient care and education to future physicians.

And so it was, Freddie Atkins was admitted for a triple bypass the next morning. Like the majority of stories from the UT Heart Hospital, Freddie’s is a positive one with a successful surgery leading to the return of a quality daily life. He is continuing cardiac therapy, has returned to independence and building back the active lifestyle so enjoyed. He and his family are grateful for the ability to receive world renowed care close to home, which allowed them to be on the journey together.

Freddie Atkins, father of our publisher, who has lived a very active life since retiring from Y-12, is back and better than ever. His marathon heart is beating with love and running the race of life!

About the author

CeCe Owens

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