East Jefferson General Hospital


“I was so lucky they
found it when they
did because I would
have dropped dead at
some point,” 
Sidney Vicknair

By: Keith Darcey


East Jefferson General Hospital is dedicated to remaining a national leader, in not only the treatment of routine cardiac care, but also the complex cardiac surgical cases that require advanced care. To accommodate the rising number of patients who need specialized treatment and surgical procedures, EJGH has now opened one of the most advanced hybrid surgical suites in our region. The hybrid surgical suite combines elements of a cardiac catheterization lab and an operating room to allow surgeons to perform cardiac and surgical procedures in the same operating room without moving the patient. This is a tremendous advantage for the patient and the surgeons, as the suite can accommodate all the technology and diagnostic equipment needed for even the most complex and delicate surgical procedures.  

“The new hybrid suite at EJGH allows our cardiovascular physicians to combine state-of-the-art imaging with a world-class operating room,” says Dr. James Perrien, Cardiologist with East Jefferson General Hospital. “It opens the horizons for us to be able to do more advanced procedures safely and with greater efficiency. This is a major addition to our array of cardiovascular services that we offer to the community.”

The first patient in the hybrid suite was Sidney Vicknair, for the repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Tod Engelhardt. Vicknair has a history of heart disease and has been a cardiac patient at East Jefferson since 1998, when Dr. Engelhardt performed coronary artery bypass surgery. In 2012, he required placement of a coronary stent.

After feeling good for over a year following the stent, Vicknair went to his annual cardiology physical and believed he was going to “ace it.” During the physical however, an ultrasound revealed an abdominal aortic aneurysm and a stress test further showed he had a blockage in his heart. Both needed intervention, but Dr. Engelhardt and his cardiologist, Dr. Luis Soto, decided to fix the aneurysm first and then take care of the blockage when he recovered from the aneurysm surgery.

CareChex w_tagNational patient safety organization CareChex® rates hospital #1 in for Patient Safety in Overall Hospital, Medical, Cardiac and Surgical Care.

According to the 2015 CareChex® ratings, East Jefferson General Hospital is number one in this market in 12 key clinical categories regarding patient safety and placed in the top 10% in the nation in 16 key patient safety categories. Dr. Mark Peters, EJGH President & CEO, is justifiably proud of these rankings, says that “This is yet another independent rating service confirming that EJGH is a national leader in healthcare and that we are providing the finest care possible to the community we serve.”

CareChex, a Division of COMPARION, is an independent hospital rating service who bases their rankings on hospital data regarding safety and outcomes.

East Jefferson General Hospital is one of only eighteen Louisiana hospitals to have reduced the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy to meet March of Dimes criteria for hospital recognition. This will give more babies a healthy start in life, the March of Dimes says.

“We began this initiative because we saw the great benefits to both mother and child by ending elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks,” said Dr. Mark Peters, President and CEO of East Jefferson General Hospital. “There is no question it was a tremendous collaboration between our nursing staff, physicians and administrators, but we knew it was the right thing to do. I think the results indicate a healthier start for our babies, and we are proud to have been on the leading edge of bringing this program to our community.”

Melissa Lorio_rnEast Jefferson General Hospital has named Melissa Lorio, RN, BSN, MBA, Senior Director of Perioperative/Surgical Services. With over 25 years of experience, Lorio is responsible for one of the highest volume surgical departments in the region and oversees the day-to-day operations of Same Day Surgery, Pre-Surgical Evaluation Center and the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. Prior to joining East Jefferson, Lorio was the Assistant Vice President of Perioperative Services at Ochsner Medical Center.

Lorio received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University School of Nursing and earned her Master of Business at the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses and was previously awarded the Alumni Award from Louisiana State University.

“I am so impressed not only with the quality of the team and surgeons that work here, but with the facilities and technology available to us,” says Lorio. “I have been around medicine my whole life. My biggest teacher in life has been my mom, who has been a nurse for over 42 years. So to be part of a great place like East Jefferson, where there is such a family atmosphere, makes me proud to come to work every day and care for our patients.”

Lorio is married to her husband Andy and has two children, Justin (16) and Kyle (13). 

2014Great100webCongratulations to EJGH’s Great 100 Nurses!

Congratulations to the nurses at East Jefferson General Hospital who are recognized as part of Louisiana's "Great 100" Nurses. The Great 100 is compiled by the Louisiana State Nursing Association and recognizes these individuals as skilled clinicians and compassionate caregivers.

We celebrate these 17 EJGH nurses for their dedication and for their commitment to excellence in patient care. The 28th Annual Great 100 celebration to honor all honorees will be held on October 15, 2014.

Representing multiple specialties and service lines, the following nurses reflect the very best in healthcare. They embody what we mean when we say at EJGH, we are making it great, every day.

  • Jason Bordes, RN, 6-East
  • Laquana Davis, RN, Outpatient Oncology
  • Nicolle Fox, RN, 9-Rehab
  • Anna Heim, RN, Breast Cancer Navigator
  • Cheryl Martinez, RN, 6-East
  • Rachel Munoz, RN, Outpatient Oncology
  • Heidi Nugent, RN, 6-East
  • Joan Rickmeier, RN, PICC
  • Amanda Ronquille, RN, 7-East
  • Laura Schilling, RN, ICU
  • Dana Schmitt, RN, Woman & Child Clinic
  • Melissa Shubert, RN, 6 East
  • Vicki Strecker, RN, 7-East
  • Ashley Theriault, RN, 6-East
  • Tina Tran, RN, ICU
  • Deborah Trascher, RN, SNF
  • Candice Waguespack, RN, 2-East