When Benjamin Toole, MD, was growing up in metro Atlanta and going to college and medical school in Georgia, he didn’t envision doing the work he does today for Sibley Heart Center Cardiology. But he has found his perfect niche as a “road warrior,” bringing top-notch pediatric cardiac care to patients and families in his adopted hometown of Albany as well as Thomasville and Valdosta.
“I always liked the people and the pace of life down here in South Georgia, but I never imagined I’d be here for my job,” Dr. Toole said. “When I joined Sibley in 2014, the Albany clinic was only open two days per week. Patients were predominately going to Macon, Columbus, Atlanta and elsewhere to get cardiac care, including fetal echoes. We established a full-time clinic in Albany, and we also opened the clinics in Valdosta and Thomasville. Now we can bring the same high-quality care patients would get in Atlanta much closer to home.”
Dr. Toole says that he and his team offer a comprehensive program that helps to open avenues for patients to the rest of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, establishing them with other subspecialists they may need. In a town the size of Albany, access to this high level of specialists is unique to Sibley.
“Through Sibley, kids can get excellent care in every subspecialty,” Dr. Toole said. “Our patients tell us often that the nursing staff, physicians and the care and compassion they receive at Sibley is superior to other centers. My families feel very good about the care they receive here.”
Dr. Toole has a dedicated team of nurses, medical assistants and a sonographer who travel with him to his clinics. He says they are like family, and he knows he can count on them to be laser-focused on patients. Their ability to put patients — from babies to teens — at ease is highly valued, and he credits their ability to work so well together as an important factor in how the south Georgia program is thriving.
Sibley is just a great organization to work for,” Dr. Toole said. “They treat their employees and physicians very well. They are unique in the way they approach pediatric cardiology. They’re focused on employees, patients and in getting patients in for care early and close to their homes.”
Dr. Toole is committed to diagnosing children with potentially life-threatening heart conditions as early as possible, in utero, to ensure that his tiny patients receive the life-saving treatments they need as soon as they’re born. This approach improves outcomes dramatically, but diagnostic tools such as specialized fetal echocardiograms are not always readily available in the more rural parts of the state. Dr. Toole’s work aims to change that.
“The patients make this job worthwhile,” Dr. Toole said. “Living in South Georgia is very different from living in Atlanta. In a big city, you may have a bunch of doctors in a particular clinic, but in ours, it’s just us. Because of that, I’m able to enjoy a close relationship with my patients and their parents. There is a continuity of care that is unique. It’s really amazing to me that some of the kids I’ve followed since their moms were referred to me during their pregnancies are now starting school! They’re part of our family and everyone knows them. It’s great to see my patients going on to live healthy, meaningful lives.”
Benjamin Toole, MD
- Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine
- Pediatric Cardiologist, Sibley Heart Center Cardiology
- Medical School: Medical College of Georgia – Augusta University
- Residency: University of Alabama Medical Center Program – Children’s Hospital
- Baylor College of Medicine -Texas Children’s Hospital
- 4th year Fellowship-Advanced Cardiac Imaging-Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Sibley Heart Center Cardiology
For more information about Sibley Heart Center Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.