Great achievements happen when people come together, unified under a common vision or goal. It’s what we at UF Health call “The Power of Together.”
Following a groundbreaking event on Jan. 23, construction for the new UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital is underway. They will open in 2018 and will feature the latest innovations in medical technology and hospital design, giving rise to the Southeast’s most advanced home for the care of patients with heart, vascular and neurological illnesses. The $415 million facilities will offer private rooms and enable our teams to provide shorter procedure times, less invasive treatment options, more convenient postoperative follow-up, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery.
The project will provide a healing environment in which our expert providers can deliver the highest-quality care and compassionate service to our patients. Patients just like Catherine Flanigan, Kraven Gavin and Paul Robell.
Catherine Flanigan awoke in the middle of the night and was unable to move her legs. Her husband Harry Flanigan’s face was distorted and the words she tried to say just wouldn’t come out right. He realized something was terribly wrong and called an ambulance. EMS personnel determined Catherine was having a stroke. They took her to UF Health Shands Hospital, where she was immediately brought from the E.R. to the UF Health Shands Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Our Stroke Center team determined Catherine was having an ischemic stroke. When she arrived, it was too late for her to receive intravenous tPA, also known as the clot-busting drug. The right side of her body was completely paralyzed and she couldn’t speak. There was a blood clot in her brain that needed to be removed. Brian Hoh, M.D., FACS, FAHA, FAANS, a UF College of Medicine neurosurgeon, successfully performed the procedure. She went home symptom-free just a few days later.
“I didn’t believe people shortly after the stroke when they told me what happened,” Catherine said. “I didn’t remember anything, and I didn’t seem to have any symptoms. I just couldn’t believe it was true.”
Kraven Gavin, a 34-year-old mother of three, knew when she heard her doctor say the words “aortic aneurysm” that her situation was serious. As the caretaker of her children and with a daycare business to run, she was nervous about her future. Her Tallahassee vascular surgeon knew of only one team that could perform the surgery she needed — the cardiovascular team at UF Health.
Gavin was referred to Robert Feezor, M.D., a UF College of Medicine assistant professor of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy, and Thomas Beaver, M.D., M.P.H., UF College of Medicine chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. They performed an endovascular repair of her thoracic aortic aneurysm. This is a highly sophisticated and customized method of treatment that is minimally invasive and allows for a quicker recovery time. UF Health is among the nation’s top centers where surgeons perform endovascular repairs of aortic aneurysms. With this news, she knew she was in good hands.
Gavin was grateful for her team. It included UF College of Medicine surgery faculty and staff and UF Health Shands Hospital nurses and staff. Someone she fondly remembers is Billie Corbin, scheduling coordinator for the UF College of Medicine vascular surgery and endovascular therapy division. She helped Gavin with her follow-up appointments. She also acknowledged her inpatient care team, including Tracy Taylor, PA-C, and Monica Jette, PA-C, physician assistants from the Cardiac ICU.
“I had no issues, no problems,” Gavin said. “The doctors, the nurses, everybody was wonderful.”
After fully recovering in just two months, Gavin was back to her passion: her children and her daycare center. She’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in child counseling and hopes to one day own her own childcare center.
On his way back to Gainesville after a family trip to Disney World last Thanksgiving, Paul Robell, former UF Foundation vice president emeritus for development and alumni affairs, knew something wasn’t right when he began having difficulty breathing and experienced chest pain. He first sought emergency treatment at a medical facility where it was determined that he would need triple cardiac bypass surgery. As his case was considered complicated and high-risk, he was transferred to UF Health Shands Hospital, where Thomas Beaver, M.D., M.P.H., completed a three-vessel bypass procedure.
Robell faced a long road to recovery following surgery. After some rocky months, the multidisciplinary intensive care team of specialists, from cardiology to gastroenterology, got him on the right track and ready for rehab.
Although his journey was difficult, today he’s back to doing what he loves — spending time with loved ones and taking his beloved dog, Dermutt, to the park each day. He attributes his recovery to his unwillingness to give up, the constant support of his wife Susan and the quality care and dedication of his caregivers at UF Health.
Together, our teams helped each of these patients recover and return to the lives they love. Together, we will continue to do all we can to ensure all our patients have their best experience at UF Health. That’s “The Power of Together.”
Hear these first-person video stories and read construction updates at blueprints.UFHealth.org.