Royal Oak-based Beaumont Hospitals has received a $3 million gift from Max and Debra Ernst and family to name the Ernst Cardiovascular Center in Memory of Ellen Ernst. 

The gift will establish a dedicated center at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak for the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with heart and vascular disease.

Wanting to honor the memory of his late wife, Max Ernst turned to his long-time friend, Marc Sakwa, M.D., chief of cardiovascular surgery at Beaumont Royal Oak. Sakwa described his concept for a multidisciplinary outpatient facility that would focus on the needs of cardiovascular patients. With the support of his second wife, Debra, Max Ernst decided to fund the project and name it in Ellen’s memory.

“Max has always been a very generous man,” Sakwa said. “When he saw the groundbreaking work we’re doing here in cardiovascular medicine, he quickly became excited about our vision. This is truly a dream come true not only for me, but for all of our cardiologists and surgeons.”

When it opens in October, the Ernst Cardiovascular Center will be a 4,537 square-foot center featuring the latest in three-dimensional  echocardiography imaging equipment, video consultation and six multidisciplinary clinics, including:

* Cardiovascular Screening Clinic
* Heart Valve Disease Clinic
* Atrial Fibrillation Clinic
* Heart Failure Clinic
* Advanced Coronary Artery Disease Clinic
* Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Clinic (opening early 2011)
The center will enhance Beaumont’s position as a destination site for complex surgical care and chronic disease management, and will further enhance Beaumont’s reputation as a regional referral center, Sakwa said.

Added Gene Michalski, president and CEO of Beaumont Hospitals: “Beaumont is recognized around the world for its leadership in cardiovascular medicine. We are deeply grateful to the Ernst family for making such an exceptional gift in support of this program.”

Ernst, former executive vice president and COO of Arbor Drugs, said the “center will have an immediate impact on patient care. What excites me is the leading-edge care and the world-class approach to helping people before they have a heart attack. As honored as we are to do something worthwhile, the results will be even more exciting when, in years to come, we look back on the lives that have been saved because of this center.”

Beaumont’s 1,061-bed hospital in Royal Oak is a major academic, research and referral center with Level 1 trauma designation. It has been consistently ranked among “America’s Best Hospitals” for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. It was named Michigan’s first Magnet-designated hospital for nursing excellence and is an associate member of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions.  Beaumont, Royal Oak has been named the “most preferred hospital” in a five-county area for 14 consecutive years in a consumer survey by National Research Corp.

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