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Renowned heart surgeon wants McDonald's out of Cleveland hospital

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Dec. 16--It's not just about McDonald's.

Dr. Delos M. "Toby" Cosgrove, a Watertown native and chief executive officer of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said Wednesday that he has received calls from media outlets nationwide following the publication of a Washington Post article describing his efforts to have a McDonald's franchise moved out of the hospital.

"I'm in shock at the attention this has received," said Dr. Cosgrove. "I've had e-mails from people all over the world."

Dr. Cosgrove, a Watertown High School graduate, is an internationally renowned heart surgeon. He said offering wise food selections at a facility caring for patients with serious heart conditions is just a matter of common sense.

The physician said he's leading an effort that doesn't just target McDonald's, but all the food services in the Ohio hospital, including the facility's own cafeteria and vending machines.

"The Krispy Kremes won't last for long," he said.

Dr. Cosgrove said his intentions were not meant to intrude on people's freedom of choice.

"I'm not trying to be the food police," he said. "People can go half a mile away to a hamburger joint. I'm just trying to give employees and patients appropriate food choices within the hospital."

Dr. Cosgrove said his efforts to have the McDonald's franchise leave the hospital has probably drawn nationwide attention because the fast-food giant has put up a public fight. A Pizza Hut franchise recently and quietly closed its doors at the hospital.

McDonald's, which is halfway through a 20-year lease, has refused to shut down its franchise according to the Post story published Wednesday.

"Our menu is something we're all proud of," Marty Ranft, a McDonald's vice president, told the Washington paper. "We've got a great relationship with the Cleveland Clinic. We are not interested in closing."

Dr. Cosgrove is not just examining food choices at the clinic. Although smoking is not allowed in the hospital, it is permitted on some parts of the campus. Dr. Cosgrove is leading an effort to have the entire Cleveland Clinic campus smoke free by July 4.

"This is not just about McDonald's," he said. "This is about wellness."

Dr. Cosgrove has performed more than 18,000 surgical procedures and has become a world-renowned expert in the field of heart valve repair. He has developed and filed 17 patents, including ones for the Cosgrove Mitral Valve Retractor, the Stentless Aortic Valve and the Cosgrove-Baxter Annuloplasty system for use in valve repairs.

He graduated from Watertown High School in 1958. He received a bachelor's degree from Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., and his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Va.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, founded in 1921, is a nonprofit, multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.


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