Northeast Georgia Medical Center, the state’s top heart hospital, has raised over $1 million to improve treatment with the addition of the Woody Stewart Heart Failure Treatment Unit.
Jim Moore, chairman of The Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees, was one of the almost 80 people who donated money for the treatment unit.
"Heart failure is one of the leading causes of admission into the medical center," he said. "A lot people suffer the effects of heart failure and my good friend Woody Stewart, who chaired The Medical Center Foundation for so many years, suffered from heart failure and ultimately died as a result of that."
In Stewart’s 14 years as chairman, he helped raise over $8 million for the cardiac development of the hospital, said Nancy Colston, president of The Medical Center Foundation.
"Woody was instrumental to the hospital," Colston said. "After his passing, we had a number of people that came and said ‘We want to be a part of doing something to create a legacy for Woody because he meant so much to this hospital.’"
The outcome, the Woody Stewart Heart Failure Treatment Unit, will be Georgia’s first inpatient heart failure treatment unit housing 16 beds and a 1,600-square-foot teaching center donated by Lorry and Sherrie Schrage and Sherrie Schrage’s mother, Muriel Nathan.
"You can’t be cured of heart failure, but you can learn to live with it," Moore said.
The unit will be available to patients and their caregivers, providing family consultation and educating them about healthy lifestyle choices, including cooking demonstrations.
Stewart’s wife, Lynda Stewart, was amazed at the outpouring of support for the treatment unit, she said.
"I felt that so many of our friends, after his death, had honored him in so many other ways that I didn’t think that the foundation needed to do this," she said. "But they were so honored to do this that I finally said OK."
After about three years of planning and fundraising, the center will be completed toward the end of 2015.
"I just really appreciate all of his friends, colleagues and everybody who has donated to this heart failure unit," Stewart’s widow said. "It would mean so much to him to know that they’ve done this."