JOPLIN, Mo. — A bit of a medical milestone was reached recently by Mercy Hospital Joplin.

David Hill underwent the health system’s 300th Watchman procedure in July.

He was back on the hospital’s campus, today (Tuesday), to reunite with those who took care of him.

The device is implanted in the heart – and expands inside the left atrial appendage – eliminating the space where blood can collect and clots can form.

It was only a year ago when Mercy celebrated its 100th Watchman procedure.

“I don’t know, there are people who get very excited about the numbers, but I get more excited about the outcomes, ’cause all the patients that we’re following, and we actually have to follow all these patients for years and years, and we have the best outcome in the country,” said Dr. Byungsoo Ko, Mercy Hospital Joplin Cardiologist.

“I’m alive again. It’s, it’s a start. I’ve gotten back to doing what I was doing. I’m a singer-songwriter, and like my gospel, love my gospel music, bluegrass. Gives me a chance to get back and give back to the lord,” said David Hill, Watchman Procedure Patient.

The procedure only takes about 15 minutes.

And — after having one implanted — 9 out of 10 patients are able to stop taking blood thinning medication in less than two months’ time.