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Cardiac cath lab nearly ready for patients

4,715-square-foot lab, which cost nearly $4.5 million, was funded mostly from donations

Posted: August 1, 2009 9:36 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Roberta G. Veloz, left, receives a bouquet of flowers from Roger Seaver, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital CEO, at the preview ceremony and tour of the new Roberta G. Veloz Cardiac Cath Lab on Friday. Veloz donated $3 million to the hospital to fund the lab.

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Roberta Veloz stood at a podium Friday in the waiting room of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's new cardiac catheterization lab, recalling a day in early December 2005.

Spurred on by the near death of a friend's son-in-law, and following the sale of her company, Aquafine Corp., she sat down with hospital CEO Roger Seaver to make a donation for the planned lab.

She gave him a check, he thanked her for it and put it in his jacket pocket, she said.

"He never looked at it," she said.

She pressed Seaver to look at the check.

It was for $3 million - the largest private donation the Valencia hospital had ever received.

"Then he started to hyperventilate," Veloz said with a smile.

Local officials and hospital staff crowded into the waiting room Friday morning for a christening of sorts and a tour of the new lab, set to open within weeks. The lab was four years in the making.

All that remains is final certifications from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

The final price tag for the 4,715-square-foot lab was nearly $4.5 million - about half of which was spent on equipment - and Seaver said nearly all of it came from donations.

"Philanthropy plays a very important role in health care," he said.

Located on the second floor of the main hospital building, the lab is an important step for the hospital to take toward becoming a viable cardiac center, Chief Operating Officer John Schleif said.

In it, doctors inject catheters and dye into the patient's arteries and use digital imaging to locate blockages and diagnose heart disease or other cardiac problems.

The lab includes a waiting area, a prep room, the procedure room, two recovery rooms, two exam rooms and office space.
"In a way, this brings us to where we should be," Schleif said.

The next step, Schleif said, will be building an operating room big enough for heart surgery.

"I would love to see heart surgery in about five to six years," he said.

Providence Holy Cross in the San Fernando Valley is the closest hospital to the Santa Clarita Valley that offers heart surgery.

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