Health updates in the Port City

Jun 20, 2024 • 7 min. read | By Staff Reports

Accompanied by his mother, Deloris Jordan, sports superstar Michael Jordan spoke in May about returning to the city of his youth to play a role in expanding health care in Wilmington.


Jordan visited Wilmington on May 7 to cut the ribbon on the first of two medical clinics he’s helped fund in his hometown.


Novant Health announced in early 2021 that the Wilmington native and six-time NBA champion had donated $10 million to help open two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics in New Hanover County.


Jordan has previously partnered with the health system to open two clinics in Charlotte.


The first clinic, at the corner of 15th and Greenfield streets, opened its doors in April, while site work has started on the second medical clinic near the corner of Princess Place Drive and North 30th Street, according to a Novant Health spokesperson.


More than 100 local leaders and other community members turned out for the ribbon-cutting. Jordan, his mother and other members of the Jordan family attended the event.


Ernie Bovio, president of Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center, kicked off the event by thanking Michael Jordan for his investment in the clinic and the broader community.


“As you will soon see, this clinic is impressive. The care team, the physicians practicing here are committed and dedicated to transforming the way health care is experienced through this new community resource,” Bovio said. “And there’s no doubt that the clinic will be vital to the health of our friends and neighbors for many years to come, so thank you, Michael, for creating a healthier future, a brighter future for so many here in Wilmington.”


Addressing attendees, Michael Jordan said it was “good to be home.” He said he and his family want to continue giving back to the community, building on the clinic model established in Charlotte.


“We did it in Charlotte, and now we’re going to do it in Wilmington, which makes it even more special because this is home; this is where I came from,” he said. “No matter how you see Michael Jordan, this is where I started.”


Deloris Jordan reminded community members that they need to play an active role in supporting the new Wilmington clinic.


“With this building, you must contribute. He brought it, he established the partnership, but it’s for your benefit, not his,” she said. “One person can’t do it all; it has to be a team.”


Michael Jordan graduated from Laney High School in Wilmington in 1981, and in 1982, he helped lead UNC to a national championship. He went on to play 15 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls.


The first 7,800-square-foot medical office at 1423 Greenfield St. has 12 patient rooms and will offer comprehensive primary care services, including to those who are uninsured or underinsured, according to Novant Health.


Novant leaders worked with the local nonprofit Cape Fear Collective to identify locations with the greatest need for medical clinics. The clinics aim to make health care services more accessible, especially for underserved communities.


In July 2021, New Hanover County leaders transferred the 2 acres at the corner of 15th and Greenfield streets to Novant Health for the clinic’s construction. Crews broke ground on the project in October 2022.


Late last year, Michael Jordan and his family entered into discussions about plans to bring a Jordan museum to Project Grace in downtown Wilmington. New Hanover County leaders recently announced that the family had opted not to move forward with the museum plans.


Surgeon performs newer type of bariatric surgery


Wilmington Health’s Jayme Stokes this year successfully performed the first SADI-S procedure in the region, according to the practice.


Stokes, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon, performed a Single Anastomosis Duodeno-Ileal Bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy (SADI-S).


“SADI-S represents a significant advancement in bariatric surgery, offering patients a comprehensive solution for long-term weight management,” Stokes said in a news release.


The procedure requires making one intestinal bypass instead of two as part of the patient’s weight-loss surgery, “reducing surgical time and minimizing the risk of intestinal leakage.”


“The two-step laparoscopic surgery begins with the removal of a substantial portion of the stomach, transforming it into a slender ‘sleeve’ structure,” the release stated. “This sleeve restricts food intake and diminishes the production of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, aiding in appetite suppression.”


SADI-S was introduced in 2007 as a modification of the more traditional duodenal switch operation, officials said, adding that the procedure has shown enhanced outcomes and reduced postoperative complications.


“Unlike the duodenal switch, SADI-S preserves a greater portion of the intestine, enabling improved nutrient absorption and minimizing the need for lifelong supplementation,” the release stated. “Additionally, the single intestinal connection in SADI-S reduces the risk of leakage and future bowel obstruction, enhancing patient safety and long-term surgical success.”


“SADI-S represents a significant advancement in bariatric surgery,” Stokes said, “offering patients a comprehensive solution for long-term weight management.”


Novant Health adds new AFib treatment


Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute has incorporated a recent FDA-approved treatment for AFib, or atrial fibrillation, as an option for local patients.

Pulsed Field Ablation (PFA), a technology created by Medtronic, involves using pulsed electrical fields sent through a catheter to treat misfiring cardiac tissue in the heart, according to a news release from the health system. The goal is to permanently correct a patient’s irregular heartbeat.


Novant Health providers did their first procedures with the technology April 3 at Novant Health New Hanover Medical Center and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem.


“AFib causes symptoms and can increase risk of heart failure and stroke, so it’s important to identify and successfully treat the condition,” Bill Smith, clinical physician executive for Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute in the health system’s coastal region, said in the release. “Launching this new treatment at two sites on the same day is a testament to a strong effort from across our Heart & Vascular Institute to offer the latest advanced treatment options to our patients.”


AFib, officials said, is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia and a condition that is expected to affect more than 12 million people nationally by 2030.


Surgery center recognized by orthopedic organization


Brunswick Surgery Center this year received four certificates of excellence from accreditation organization DNV Healthcare, according to a news release. 

The certificates were for four subspecialties that DNV surveys:


• advanced foot and ankle surgery

• advanced hip and knee replacement

• advanced shoulder surgery

• advanced spine surgery


Located in the EmergeOrtho building in the Villages at Brunswick Forest, Brunswick Surgery Center (BSC) is one of the region’s first outpatient ambulatory surgery centers dedicated to advanced orthopedics, the release stated. The center is staffed by 29 board-certified or board-eligible fellowship-trained surgeons from EmergeOrtho.


Because Brunswick Surgery Center achieved advanced certification in at least three orthopedic programs, it also obtained a DNV Orthopedic Center of Excellence designation, recognizing BSC as “a demonstrated leader in the safe delivery of orthopedic surgeries.”


According to the release, the DNV Orthopedic Center of Excellence designation is based on guidelines, recommendations and evidence-based, professionally recognized standards of practice acknowledged by leading professional organizations and agencies in the discipline. The designation is valid for a three-year term.


“I believe that the DNV certification reflects our efforts to support the vision and mindset of Brunswick Surgery Center,” Eric Lescault, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Brunswick Surgery Center specializing in joint replacement and sports medicine, stated in the release. “That has always been to offer the most technologically advanced, affordable orthopedic care to our region.”


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