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For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2012

Top cardiothoracic surgeon to lead Southcoast's five-star-rated heart surgery program into next decade of care

Southcoast Health System names James Fingleton, MD, as Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery

James Fingleton, MD
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FALL RIVER, Mass. — Southcoast™ Health System today announced it has appointed James Fingleton, MD, as Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery. As one of the region's top heart surgeons, Dr. Fingleton brings experience, skill and leadership to further elevate Southcoast's heart program, which is already recognized as one of the top programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

"This is a new era in heart care and we are excited to be taking it to an even higher level," said Keith A. Hovan, President & CEO of Southcoast Health System and Southcoast Hospitals Group. "Patients can have the peace of mind that they do not need to leave the region for advanced heart services. The level of care being offered through Southcoast's heart program is at the level of or better than any program offered in Massachusetts or Rhode Island right now."

Dr. Fingleton is one of New England's top cardiothoracic surgeons, bringing new innovations and advancements to our heart surgery program, which is already recognized as one of the leading cardiovascular centers in the state and ranks among the top programs in the U.S. He will provide a more expansive heart surgery program for Southcoast patients, including new minimally invasive procedures such as aortic valve replacement, mitral valve repair and replacement, septal defects, cardiac tumors, aortic aneurysms and aortic dissection.

Southcoast's overall heart program continues to grow with an astounding 21 area cardiologists joining Southcoast Physicians Group in the past two years.

"Physicians want to do the right thing for their patients and practice at a hospital that offers the highest standard of care with great patient satisfaction," said Warren Wood II, MD, President of Southcoast Physicians Group. "Southcoast's dedication to the heart program over the past decade — and now moving into the future — continues to offer our cardiac patients unprecedented care and support. We are proud that area cardiologists and cardiac surgeons recognize the level of care being offered at Southcoast and want to join our team."

"I am absolutely thrilled to be joining a program that is known for making patient safety, quality care and patient satisfaction its top priorities," Dr. Fingleton said. "I look forward to working with Southcoast's incredible team of individuals who treat each patient, and each other, as part of their own family. This is the type of culture that enables Southcoast's cardiac program to perform at the highest level possible and be among the very best heart programs in the U.S. It is for these reasons that I have chosen to join this extraordinary team and exceptional program."

Dr. Fingleton brings more than two decades of experience in cardiothoracic surgery, research and analysis to Southcoast's cardiac surgery program. Prior to joining Southcoast, he was a cardiothoracic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital and the Miriam Hospital, both in Providence, R.I. He is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he also completed an internship and residency in general surgery. He completed an additional residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Fingleton will provide leadership for Southcoast's heart surgery program which is nationally ranked five-star, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence, R.I. He is a member of the Society for Thoracic Surgery and the American College of Chest Physicians.

Dr. Fingleton is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery. His clinical interests include multiple arterial grafting, aortic aneurysm surgery and minimally invasive valve repair and replacement.

"The success of the Southcoast heart program is credited to our highly skilled and compassionate team at Charlton, as well as St. Luke's and Tobey, and the cardiologists and physicians who support the program throughout our community," said Margaret Ferrell, MD, Physician-in-Chief of Cardiovascular Services. "Through our team's expertise, hard work and commitment, we have established a patient experience that is near 100 percent in patient satisfaction. Dr. Fingleton joining our team is great news for patients of our region who will be able to stay close to home for even more advanced heart procedures."

Dr. Fingleton's main office is located at 300 Hanover Street in Fall River, with satellite offices located at the Polo Center, 676 Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown, R.I., and at 1076 North Main Street in Providence, R.I.

Southcoast Cardiovascular Services

Southcoast Cardiovascular Services provides the entire spectrum of cardiovascular services locally, including open heart procedures, cardiac catheterizations, coronary angioplasty and cardiac implantable devices. Southcoast performs more cardiac catheterizations than any other community hospital system in Massachusetts, with approximately 60 percent of patients needing advanced treatment such as coronary artery bypass or angioplasty. Southcoast's state-of-the-art Electrophysiology Laboratories at Charlton Memorial Hospital provides diagnostic testing for cardiac arrhythmias and interventional procedures such as ablations.

"Our number one priority is to provide well-coordinated, high-quality care to all of our patients," said Dr. Ferrell. "The success of the Southcoast heart program is credited to the highly skilled team of cardiologists, surgeons and health care professionals at our three hospital sites. It is their 24 hours, 7 days a week dedication and the commitment by Southcoast to invest in the latest technology, equipment and state-of-the-art facilities that enables us to rank among the best in the country."

Southcoast performed the first open heart surgery in Southeastern Massachusetts in April 2002, bringing the lifesaving procedure to a region with the state's highest incidence of heart disease. Southcoast was the first of three community hospitals approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to offer open heart surgery and elective coronary angioplasty at its Charlton Memorial Hospital site in Fall River.

Southcoast's cardiac surgery program has brought unprecedented access to advanced cardiac services to the region and has received exemplary reviews and outstanding patient satisfaction since its inception including ranking as one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for heart care by HealthGrades¨, the nation's leading, independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings. HealthGrades awarded Southcoast its Specialty Excellence Award for Overall Cardiac Services, Cardiac Surgery and Coronary Interventional Procedures.

"The HealthGrades rankings are an exceptional accomplishment for our cardiac program and a testament to our physicians, surgeons, nurses and health care providers who are saving lives every day," said Laurie Mulgrew, Vice President of Clinical Services for Cardiovascular Care & Imaging. "Patients who receive their cardiac care at a Southcoast hospital can rest assured they are receiving their care at one of the top heart hospitals in the U.S."

The 14th Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study analyzes tens of millions of patients' outcomes — specifically, mortality and complication rates — at the nation's 5,000 hospitals. HealthGrades' 2012 clinical achievements for Southcoast Hospitals included being a recipient of the HealthGrades Cardiac Care Excellence Award™ for six years in a row and a recipient of the HealthGrades Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award™.

For a complete listing of Southcoast Hospitals' HealthGrades rankings visit

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Stephanie Poyant
Public Information Officer
Phone: 508-961-5280
Pager: 508-387-2532
Fax: 508-961-5876

Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island.

It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

Southcoast provides advanced clinical services, such as open heart surgery, angioplasty and heart rhythm services, comprehensive cancer care, neurosurgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedic surgery, advanced imaging services and is the only provider of maternity services in the region.

Southcoast is a not-for-profit charitable organization that depends on the support of the community to provide services. More information is available online at Connect to Southcoast through social media at

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