Jan. 13, 2008 09:01 PM
Friday, December 28, 2007

Shawn Wilson applying for District 3 school board seat
Shawn Wilson has put his name in the hat to be considered for the District 3 school board seat being vacated by Rickey Hardy. Hardy was elected last month to the state legislature and will be leaving his school board post at the start of the new year. The school board will vote on an interim replacement for Hardy at its Jan. 9 meeting. Wilson, who recently lost a runoff election for District 3's city-parish council seat, sent in his resume and cover letter today asking the board to consider him in naming Hardy's successor. Wilson says he decided to apply after talking with several supporters following his campaign for city-parish council who encouraged him to stay publicly involved. He also says he has seen a need for new leadership on the board, given the poor perception and lack of trust in the school system that has been revealed in the recent debates over the closure of N.P. Moss Middle School. "Leadership isn't always sent, it's called," Wilson says. "I think my background offers something that should be considered and if the board so desires, I'll be willing to accept that challenge."


Wilson, a 37-year-old Democrat, is currently serving as Confidential Assistant to state Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Johnny Bradberry. Previously, he worked under Kathleen Blanco as a deputy director for legislative affairs and as executive director of the Louisiana Serve Commission during her term as Lieutenant Governor. Thus far, Wilson and retired Louisiana Technical College administrator Shelton Cobb, whom Rickey Hardy recently recommended, are the only two applicants for the Distrcit 3 school board seat. Like Wilson, Cobb also ran an unsuccessful campaign this year for the District 3 city-parish council seat. Whomever the school board appoints to replace Hardy will serve through October, when a special election will be held for the seat.

LGMC buys second da Vinci robot for $1.65 million
The only hospital in Lafayette to utilize the revolutionary da Vinci robot system has now purchased a second robot at a price tag of $1.65 million. Lafayette General Medical Center has been using the robotic system, a minimally-invasive alternative for certain gynecology, urology and cardiovascular/thoracic procedures, since April 2007 but says the single machine could not keep pace with demand. LGMC is the only hospital in the state to offer these three surgical specialties.

The September arrival of Dr. Bruce Jones, a cardiovascular/thoracic surgeon who is renowned as an expert in groundbreaking, minimally invasive techniques, quickly brought the surgical case volume over first year projections. Jones has performed and instructed more than 200 cases with the da Vinci, which uses small incisions in the chest for procedures like mitral valve repair or a single coronary artery bypass. Before the da Vinci, the sternum was routinely cracked for these types of surgeries, a much more invasive procedure requiring a longer an more painful recovery.

"The two systems will add efficiencies to the operating room schedule, as well as allow us to accommodate the growing demand," says Al Patin, director of cardiology and operative services at LGMC. "One robot will be devoted to hysterectomies and prostatectomies and the other to the 13 different cardiac procedures performed by Dr. Jones."


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