Many Harford doctors are registered to work at both Franklin Square and the two Upper Chesapeake Health System hospitals, Fallston General and Harford Memorial. Dr. Dean L. Vassar, a staff cardiologist at Fallston General, is one such doctor.
He says he determines where to send patients based on what services the patient needs and which hospital has the best equipment for that patient.
Vassar finds that in his practice, he admits most patients to Fallston General.
"We do have patients at Franklin Square, but 99 percent of our patients are admitted to Fallston," he said.
Vassar says Fallston's principal draw is its intensive-care unit.
"It probably has the best ICU in the state, between the nursing staff and the ICU staff," he said. "They actually sleep next door to the ICU. they are all certified (and), they are all very skilled. These aren't students or residents -- they are professionals."
The cardiologist, who lives in Baldwin, has worked at the hospital for 13 years, serving as chief of medicine for one year and chief of cardiology for 10. Buthis closest tie to the hospital may have been his moving his 77-year-old mother from a Baltimore City hospital to Fallston this January. She had had two strokes and needed a carotid endarterectomy.
"Fallston has the lowest morbidity (disease) and mortality in the state for carotid endarterectomy," he explained. "Just to give you an idea, the risk of stroke is 3 to 4 percent (during the procedure), and in their hands its 0.1, 0.2 percent. I may be off 0.1 percent, but it's just incredible. They're just 10 times better."
Still, Vassar does use Franklin Square on occasion.
"We do use Franklin Square for ourcardiac catheterizations. Fallston does not have a cardiac catheterization laboratory," he said.
"I think that except for the fact that Fallston does not have a cardiac catheterization lab, it's pretty much nip-and-tuck" comparing the two hospitals' equipment, he said.
Fallston "can pretty much offer anything they (Franklin Square) have."
NOTE: SEE ALSO MAIN STORY (FRANKLIN SQUARE HOSPITAL IS WOOING HARFORD PATIENTS)