Missing Nashville Physician Figures into St. Thomas Decision to End Heart Transplants

The Nashville physician who went missing on Center Hill Lake in October figured into Saint Thomas Hospital’s decision to stop performing heart transplants, according to a report in the Tennessean last Thursday.
Vanderbilt will be the only hospital in Middle Tennessee offering heart transplants when Saint Thomas ends its program January 14. According to the report ,Saint Thomas will shift its focus to ventricular assist device (VAD) destination therapy, another option for heart failure patients.
Saint Thomas has 15 patients on its heart transplant waiting list.
The Tennessean reported that Saint Thomas lost one of its heart surgeons this summer with the disappearance of Dr. William Coltharp, who was last seen kayaking on Center Hill Lake. The loss of the surgeon figured into the hospital’s decision.
“The program was already under evaluation, but yes, the unexpected loss of a cardiac surgeon was a catalyzing event in our discernment process,” said Dr. Mark Aaron, medical director of the Saint Thomas Heart Ventricular Assist Device Center.

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