North Bend Native Heads OHSU Heart Surgery Program

11/23/99    Portland, Ore.

Transplants on the Rise under Floten's Direction.

H. Storm Floten, M.D., born in North Bend and raised in Coquille, has fulfilled a dream. As the new chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University, he has come full circle - joining the medical education program that gave him his start and leading the university's heart surgery program.

Fourteen years ago, Floten was a member of the surgical team that performed Oregon's and OHSU's first heart transplant operation. Now, just four months after being appointed the program's leader, he and his team have doubled the number of transplants done this year.

In addition to heart transplants, Floten's program performs dozens of other heart surgeries on patients of all ages, from the newborn to the elderly. The program is the only one in Oregon to have implanted a revolutionary new cardiac device that helps pump blood for people awaiting heart transplants. The left ventricular assist device allows patients the ability to leave the hospital and function normally until a donor heart is located. So far, four people have received this device at OHSU.

Before becoming a highly qualified surgeon with an extensive background in cardiac surgery, Floten took full advantage of Oregon's system of higher education. He earned his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Oregon, where he also played football, and his medical degree from the UO School of Medicine, which later became OHSU.

Floten served in the U.S. Navy and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander of the medical corps. After completing a surgical residency at New York University's Bellevue Medical Center, Floten returned home to Oregon and joined the prestigious Starr-Wood Cardiac Group, a private practice led by Albert Starr, M.D., the co-inventor of the artificial heart valve.

Floten has been chief of cardiopulmonary surgery at Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center since 1985 and an associate professor of surgery at OHSU, where he has the opportunity to teach young doctors.

Now, this 6-foot-3-inch, ex-football player can be seen walking the halls of OHSU Hospital, his white surgical clogs echoing his stately presence as he makes his rounds.