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Nephrology center opens in honor of Morristown resident

When he looks out at the unused fields around the Major Health Partners campus on Intelliplex Drive, Dr. Jorge Diego sees opportunities.

Pointing north of the newly-opened Sue Ann Wortman Nephrology Center, Diego, who is one of two physicians at the center, spoke during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the possibilities that remain on the campus.

“You are now at the beginning of a renaissance in medical care in this community,” he said, while twice referring to the new center as a “Field of Dreams.” “This is going to be a catalyst for even greater things.”

He pointed out possible additions to the campus, such as a center for research.

“The Mayo Clinic started out in a field, and I think this is only going to get as big as your imagination lets it,” he told the crowd of residents who attended the grand opening. “But of course we can’t do it without you.”

Diego took part in the opening, which celebrated the new nephrology center named after Sue Ann Wortman, a Morristown resident who passed away in 2015. Wortman’s widower, Bob, provided a generous gift to the Major Hospital Foundation and the center was named after her.

The 21,000-square-foot building also houses a dialysis and infectious disease centers on the first floor. The second floor will, for the time being, be used for shelf space, MHP Chief Executive Officer and President Jack Horner said.

Warner thanked Bob Wortman for his contribution, adding that he enjoyed hearing stories about his life.

“Communities are fortunate when they have a few philanthropists in the families in the community that make a difference in their own community,” he said.

The community was proud of Wortman, he said, and the person who would be most proud would have been Sue Ann.

Wortman thanked Horner and the staff for being allowed to take part in the project, and acknowledged the crowd for attending the opening.

Nephrology is the treatment of kidney disease, which typically results from other chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The center will offer the latest and most advanced technology and treatment available, he said.

More than 800 people in the community have advanced kidney disease and Horner said they expect that number to increase.

“As we look at these diseases, one of the main functions we have on campus that we’ve put together was how we go not only to treat active disease, but how do we treat and prevent disease before it occurs?” he said. “How do we get to a point where we can keep pre-diabetes from moving to diabetes?”

It is possible to prevent that advancement, he said, but once someone gets diabetes, there is no way to stop its progression.

“Technology in the facilities are wonderful,” he said. “If you’ve looked at this campus and you’ve seen the changes we’ve seen over the last five years at MHP, you can see from the appearance from the outside. But the real crux of MHP are the people. That’s what we’re all about. The facilities and the technology are an important component of that.”

At the center of its operation is the values that MHP holds, he said. The hospital sees the cycle of life, from the OB/GYN unit to the oncology and cardiology centers.

“But it always comes back to our values,” Horner said. “It comes back to our individuals, our patients, our staff, our community, you as supporters of MHP. And these people represent really the symbol of the growth of MHP that we’ve seen over this last decade.”

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