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Ferraris pledge $500,000 to help community build Emanuel’s cardiovascular services

Turlock, CA- In cardiac care, every moment counts.

That's why Emanuel Medical Center's Legacy Circle annual giving campaign is launching a five-year effort to bring world-class heart services to Turlock; services that will save lives and help people get back to their families and the activities they love.

"This is something the community needs here, and it was frustrating for us at the hospital to have to transfer people out to other facilities," said John Sigsbury, Emanuel president and CEO. "The medical community has been waiting for us to do this, and has been very supportive and encouraging."

Turlock couple Jeani and John Ferrari are also very supportive and have pledged to donate $500,000 when the community raises $1 million during the first year of the Legacy Circle campaign, which kicks off August 26.

"The fundamental basis for our support of Emanuel Medical Center is that it's our community hospital," John Ferrari said. "Jeani and I have talked about this a number of times and we cannot come up with another opportunity to touch so many people's lives.  If you live in this community, one day you will need Emanuel.  And I believe that once you give to Emanuel and see the important work it's doing, you'll stay involved for a very long time."

Emanuel has already begun bringing lifesaving cardiovascular services to the community. The hospital has recruited world-class medical talent to Turlock and invested in state-of-the-art technology - like its new Cardiac Cath & Interventional Lab that opened this April.

"The lab is already benefitting patients," explained Dr. Harold Tabaie, Emanuel's medical director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. "We're already doing advanced procedures like endovascular stent placement, abdominal aortic surgery, automatic internal cardiac defibrillator placement, peripheral arterial stent placement and video-assisted lung surgery."

Emanuel is significantly upgrading an existing operating room so cardiac surgery can begin by early 2011. Phase two of the project will see two new cardiac operating suites open, one of those a cutting-edge hybrid room where the surgical table is integrated with a interventional radiology scanner, which is the technological heart of any catheterization lab. That integration allows one surgeon to control both the table and the scanner with a single joystick control.

"It's a very, very highly advanced operating room that only a few major cardiac centers, like the Cleveland Clinic, have," Dr. Tabaie explained.

Those surgical suites will cost nearly $4 million to build and equip, and are scheduled to open in late 2012. As those high-tech operating rooms are built, other advances will also benefit the Turlock area. Emanuel's lab facilities will expand to perform tests than cannot be done locally now. Related medical services will expand and the technological competency of Turlock's medical corps will grow as specialized anesthesiologists, perfusionists, cardiac surgical nurses and other technical experts are recruited to the area.

But most importantly, Dr. Tabaie said, the facilities, services and skilled professionals will be available to the people who live in and around Turlock. Care will be moments, not miles, away.

"Patients will not be delayed," he said. "That's what is most important. Our main purpose is to prevent a catastrophic event which can occur when a patient has to be transferred to an operating room in a distant facility. Eliminating that time delay can save a lot of patients."

The vision for phase three of the project is to develop and build a dedicated space to consolidate all of Emanuel's cardiovascular services.

To help make all of this happen, Legacy Circle is set to start the fundraising process with a goal of $5 million over the next five years, and Jeani Ferrari believes it can be done.

"I know people say it's not a good time to ask the community for money, but I have a great attitude about it," she explained.  "I think a giver's enthusiasm affects people, and they then have the opportunity to experience the same joy we're experiencing.  Giving to such a good cause makes you feel like a hero."

Emanuel Medical Center is a not-for-profit, community-based Christian hospital. Its 415-bed multi-level medical campus includes a 209-bed acute care hospital, a 145-bed skilled nursing facility and a 49-bed assisted living facility. It provides emergency, critical care, pediatric, medical and surgical services, cardiology, cancer diagnosis and treatment services, women's health services and hospice services.

To learn more about Emanuel's new heart program or to donate to Legacy Circle, call (209) 664-5180 or visit


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