VA hospital celebrating milestone

Columbia, SC - (WIS) - A cardiology center celebrated its first anniversary and 500th patient at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia Friday.

For veterans, the Dorn VA Center's cardiology center is the place to get check out when it comes to heart problems.

Dr. Gus Agocha, chief of the cardiology center, said they take their commitment to veterans very seriously.

"They are, of course, America's heroes and they deserve the best," Agocha said. "So it makes us feel good that we can give them the best."

The team of 30-plus cardiologists, nurses, PAs and other experts are celebrating their 500th patient.

"We realize the vast majority of the veterans have cardiac disease and a lot of these veterans are older, they don't want to leave home, they don't want to travel to their care," said Nurse Elene Kelleher, who helps run the unit.

If numbers impress you, they have $3.5 million worth of new equipment in the center, but the human touch is just as important. Montague Thompson counsels vets as only a heart patient can.

"When they see somebody who's been through it, who has had bypass surgery, who has had stints, who has had angioplasty, they can continue their life," Thompson explained. "They might not be able to do as much as before, but they can still go on and they can do better."

"There's a huge satisfaction in what we do - the veterans appreciate it," Kelleher said.  "I get emotional in part because I'm so grateful for what we have and what we do."

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