Cardiologist joins Natchez Regional Medical Center staff

Published 12:33 am Sunday, April 25, 2010

NATCHEZ — Dr. Brad LeMay always knew he’d make a home in Natchez. It just happened a few years before he planned.

LeMay, a cardiologist, recently joined Natchez Regional Medical Center through an agreement between Jackson Heart Clinic and Natchez Regional Medical Center.

LeMay will practice full-time in Natchez.

“My family, generations back, is from St. Francisville so I grew up coming here and hearing about the area,” he said. “I fell in love with the town and always planned to retire here.

“Now, I get the opportunity to work here before retiring.”

LeMay started his practice April 12. He comes to Natchez from Hot Springs, Ark., where he was a founding member of the Central Arkansas Cardiovascular Institute there.

In Natchez, LeMay will provide diagnostic testing and general cardiology care including treatment of high blood pressure and cholesterol related issues, and pre-operative and post-operative care in time, he hopes to build the cardiovascular rehabilitation program in Natchez.

“I will provide diagnostic treatment, not therapeutic care,” he said. “What the purpose of this office is is to provide quality diagnostic care to locate any problem that might need further treatment, then get the patient to the best physician for whatever treatment is needed.”

LeMay said he wanted to be affiliated with Jackson Heart because it is a well-known and well-respected cardiology program.

“I knew people in Natchez would not want to see a name they didn’t know come in,” he said. “To be affiliated with Jackson Heart gives you instant credibility across the region. They are one of the most respected practices in the region, and I am honored to be a part of that.”

LeMay is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Medical Center where he did his medical residency and internship. He is a board certified physician in both cardiology and internal medicine.

He practiced in Hot Springs for almost 18 years.

“I tried 17 and half years ago to come to Natchez,” he said. “At that time, I couldn’t get either hospital interested in building a cardiology program.”

He said it wasn’t long after his initial efforts to start a cardiology practice in Natchez that Natchez Regional began a program that included the implementation of a catheterization lab. That lab has been closed for approximately two years, but LeMay said the hospital is in the process of obtaining the needed certifications to reopen the lab.

The state has to grant a certificate of need to reopen the lab and that process is currently open for public opinion, LeMay said.

“The lab at Regional is a good lab,” he said. “I have checked out the equipment to make sure it is in good condition and there is nothing wrong with the lab. It will be a real asset if we can get it open.”

LeMay said the successful reopening of the lab would be a major step in stopping the migration of patients to healthcare facilities outside of Natchez.

“If we can do procedures here that people have had to drive out of town for, it is better for the patient and for the family that is waiting for news,” he said. “A lot of our cardiology patients are older and don’t like to drive for tests. If we can get the lab open it will eliminate the need for them to drive anywhere.”

LeMay said, even if the cath lab is opened, there will be procedures that can’t be done in Natchez, but that number will be drastically reduced.

For LeMay, his pleasure comes from helping people in a town he loves.

“I came for the town,” he said. “I didn’t come for the job. This is where I wanted to retire; this is where I always thought I’d end up and I’m happy to be here.”