Heart transplant patient honors team that saved his life
New heart and vascular hospital breaks ground.
UF Health held a groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 23 to launch its newest and most ambitious initiative that focuses on providing the perfect patient experience. One South Florida businessman who underwent a heart transplant nine years ago at UF Health Shands Hospital said his experience was “about as perfect as it gets.”
The retired executive and his wife have contributed $500,000 to the construction of the UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital and will name 10 areas on the heart transplant level in honor of the caregivers who treated him nearly a decade ago.
“I am alive first because of my organ donor and his family who gave me the gift of life,” said the donor, who asked that he and his wife remain anonymous. “But, I certainly had the perfect patient experience at Shands because of all who have cared for me, both past and present. We made this gift so others can experience the same outcome I had — and in a more modern and up-to-date facility.”
Housed in one contiguous building, UF Health’s newest specialty hospitals will be located east of the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. The $415 million facility is slated to open in 2018, giving rise to the Southeast’s most advanced home for the care of patients with heart, vascular and neurological illnesses.
“These two hospitals reflect the goals outlined in our strategic plan, to offer our patients a continuum of compassionate care that will address their cardiovascular and neurologic needs throughout their lives,” said David S. Guzick, MD, PhD, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.
The gift from the South Florida couple specifies that rooms be named after his team, which includes six physicians — Drs. Richard Schofield, Charles Klodell, Mark Staples, James Hill, Juan Aranda, Gregory von Mering and Chester Allgood — as well as the cardiac and ICU nursing staff, catheterization lab staff and the transplant coordinator staff.
“We chose to name 10 rooms to recognize individuals separately to express our gratitude,” said the donor, who had a series of surgeries in 2005 and 2006 that required a total of 35 days in the hospital. “My praise goes to the people who cared for me and helped my family through a very difficult period in our lives.”
In addition to enhanced clinical features, the new hospitals will include improved navigation and wayfinding elements, family support areas that will provide comfort and privacy and a soothing outdoor space, including a healing garden and an area for respite and reflection.