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Hurley Medical Center Receives $5,011 Donation from Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation

courtesy Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation, Hurley Medical Center

The Hurley Foundation has received a $5,011 donation from the Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation and a donation from HealthPlus. The funds will be used to purchase mobile cardiac equipment, which will enable Hurley to continue providing teen heart screenings for free, for teenagers throughout Genesee County and beyond.

The Foundation was created in memory of Thomas N. Smith, 17, a Flushing High School senior, who passed away in January 2011 from an undiagnosed, enlarged heart. The foundation was set up so Thomas’ memory will live on by helping young athletes and through “teen heart screenings.”

The special one-of-a-kind program offers an in-depth heart screening that includes a medical history, blood pressure check and an ECG. Echocardiograms will also be provided if needed. The screening looks for evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a serious condition that can cause sudden cardiac death in young athletes as well as in students engaging in physical activity or exercise.

“The screening takes about 30 minutes,: says Dr. Jim Weber, ER Physician on staff at Hurley. “Those 30 minutes may save a student’s life or provide peace of mind for parents concerned about their child’s risk of sudden cardiac death and premature hypertension.”

“Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in young athletes. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the single most common cause of death among U.S. athletes. Nearly 4,000 of those deaths are among young people. And 1 in 200,000 high school athletes will die suddenly, most without any prior symptoms. This Hurley Teen Health Check could save a teenager’s life,” adds Dr. Brian Nolan, Director of Clinical Pediatrics at Hurley Medical Center.

The screening program was first developed at Beaumont Hospital in Detroit in 2007 with the intention of identifying high school age students who might be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest and other cardiovascular complications. To date, more than 7,000 teens have been screened in Michigan.

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