James DeMello donates $1 million to Southcoast Health for cardiac catheterization suite


Business leader and philanthropist James DeMello donated $1 million to Southcoast Health for advanced cardiac care at Charlton Memorial Hospital, where the cardiac catheterization suite has been named for his parents.

The George F. and Ermelinda R. DeMello Cardiac Catheterization Suite offers the latest technology for diagnosing and treating cardiac artery blockages, as well as evaluating the functioning of the heart, heart valves and the major blood vessels.

“We are incredibly grateful to Jim DeMello for his generous support of Southcoast Health and our mission to deliver the latest and best in cardiac care to the patients of this region,” said Keith Hovan, president and CEO of Southcoast Health. “We also are proud of the faith that this visionary entrepreneur has shown in Southcoast Health.”

DeMello, who retired in 2000 as President and CEO of the Acushnet Rubber Company, is owner of the the DeMello International Center, in New Bedford. He also is trustee of the DeMello Charitable Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting regional economic development, education and healthcare in the South Coast region.

A long-time supporter of Southcoast Health, he became interested in the range of cardiac care offered at Charlton Memorial after his daughter Cheri developed a heart problem. DeMello said he was impressed with the highly skilled physicians and dedicated staff of the catheterization lab.  And as a trained chemical engineer with a love for technology, he also was intrigued by the high-tech imaging equipment and surgical tools that enable cardiology specialists to perform sophisticated, minimally-invasive interventions. By using incisions that are far smaller than with open surgery, minimally invasive procedures allow for faster healing, with a lower risk of infection and other complications.

“Southcoast Health offers care that is as good as you can get anywhere,” DeMello said. “With their technology and the quality of their staff, they are bringing great care that is grounded in the community. There is no advantage to go anywhere else.”

In the cardiac catheterization suite, doctors thread a small tube through a patient’s arteries to diagnose a narrowing or blockage in the vessels that bring blood to the heart muscle. Heart attacks are caused by blockages of those arteries, which can be opened with stents or angioplasty, also delivered with the catheters. The latest in imaging equipment enables physicians to perform the procedure aided by a high-resolution view of the patient’s cardiac arteries.

Southcoast Health performs more cardiac catheterizations than any other community hospital system in the state, with more than 2,000 patients receiving this treatment each year.

“We have to take a regional view about what benefits the entire South Coast,” said DeMello. “That’s what Southcoast Health does.”

Southcoast Health is raising $25 million through its Campaign for Southcoast Health to support the recently renovated Stoico/FIRSTFED Maternity Center at St. Luke’s Hospital and an expansion of the emergency department at Tobey Hospital, in addition to the cardiac services provided at Charlton Memorial Hospital, which is the home of the Virginia and Harold Lash Heart and Vascular Center.