"The roots of the Thoracic Surgery Section of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital lie deep in the formative years of thoracic surgery in this country and the world."
- Joe Morris, M.D. April 27, 1992
Established in 1944 by Dr. Cameron Haight, the thoracic surgery program at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor has always been a leader in innovative cardiothoracic techniques. In December 1959 the first open-heart operation at St. Joe's was done by Dr. Joe Morris. The first heart-lung machine built by Sarns, Inc. was built in a basement workshop for St. Joe's; one of these pumps is on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institute. The first sternal saw used to open the chest for cardiac surgery was developed by Dr. Morris and Dick Sarns; this technique is now used worldwide for open heart surgery.
Advances at St. Joe’s continue today in all areas of cardiac and thoracic surgery. Complex heart valve procedures, cardiac reconstruction and coronary bypass are performed using the most advanced techniques. An innovative, award-winning multi-disciplinary approach to lung cancer is among the benefits offered to cancer patients at St. Joe’s. Minimally invasive surgery, such as thorascopic, laproscopic and robotic-assisted procedures are now offered to cardiac and thoracic surgery patients, allowing less surgical pain and quicker recovery.