Mary Bridge, Swedish Establish Joint Pediatric Heart-Surgery Program

Mary Bridge, Swedish Establish Joint Pediatric Heart-Surgery Program

TACOMA AND SEATTLE, WASH. - Feb. 10, 2004 - Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle today announced the formation of a joint regional heart-surgery program to meet the unique needs of children. The hospitals will share two pediatric heart-surgery care teams led by surgeons Dale Hall, M.D., and Ronald Woods, M.D., who will perform cardiac procedures at both facilities.

"This is all about bringing seamless care to children and reducing the stress factor on families," said Gregory Sorensen, M.D., director of Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care. "For example, babies born at Swedish who need lifesaving open-heart surgery won't need to be transported to another facility. The physicians will be here for them."

Swedish has an extensive Pediatric Specialty Care Program, but lost its senior pediatric heart surgeon to retirement last year. Rather than recruit a replacement, the medical center chose to partner with Mary Bridge.

Mary Bridge has one of the more experienced pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S. - Dr. Hall - who founded the hospital's pediatric heart-surgery program and has performed more than 500 procedures there. He came to Mary Bridge in 1998 from Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle, where he was chief of cardiovascular surgery.

Dr. Woods joined Mary Bridge in May 2003 from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where he held a post as senior specialist registrar in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery since July 1, 2002. Woods, who also holds a doctorate in biophysics, did his residency in general surgery at the University of Washington (U.W.) before completing a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. He did his cardiothoracic surgical fellowship at the U.W., one year of which he spent training in pediatric cardiac services at Children's Hospital in Seattle.

"As private, nonprofit hospitals, Mary Bridge and Swedish share common organizational cultures, missions and values. It only seemed natural for us to collaborate on the creation of a program to make exceptional, compassionate care available to more children in the region while also preserving scarce health-care resources," said George Brown, M.D., vice president, Acute Care Facilities and Services at MultiCare Health System.

Over the past several years, the Mary Bridge pediatric heart program has become a highly regarded referral center for patients from across the region - including Olympia, Bremerton, Covington and Centralia. Last year, the Mary Bridge heart-surgery team performed more than 160 surgeries. The expansion of the program enhances the services at Mary Bridge, which has a full range of pediatric outpatient and inpatient services, including the area's designated pediatric trauma center, intensive care and comprehensive cardiology services.

For Swedish, the new partnership is a logical extension of the medical center's renowned obstetrics and neonatal intensive-care programs as well as its growing pediatric specialty program.

The Mary Bridge/Swedish surgeons plan to do an estimated 200 procedures on infants and children annually, of approximately 500 pediatric open-heart surgeries performed in Washington state each year. The hospitals' annual combined volume will be double what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for proficiency.


Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center is part of MultiCare Health System, a nonprofit health system headquartered in Tacoma serving all of southwest Washington. MultiCare Health System also includes Tacoma General Hospital, Allenmore Hospital, MultiCare Day Surgery Centers, MultiCare Clinics, MultiCare Urgent Care Centers, MultiCare Home Services and MultiCare Medical Group. For more information, visit

Swedish Medical Center is the largest nonprofit health provider in the Pacific Northwest. Swedish is comprised of three hospital campuses (First Hill, Providence and Ballard), Swedish Home Care Services and Swedish Physicians - a network of 11 primary-care clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiac care, oncology, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, neurological care, sleep medicine, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit

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