Ms. Nicole De Coteau recently travelled from Trinidad and Tobago to Miami for oncologic treatment at UHealth. In her letter thanking UHealth International and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, she commended Ms. Lucy Molina, international coordinator at UHealth International, for her availability and customized services, calling UHealth her “home away from home” during her stay in Miami. Ms. De Coteau stated that her physician, Dr. Arnold Markoe and the radiation personnel treated her like family: Kim McDuffie, Ines Breto, Karen Moya, William Amestoy, Cathy Boehm-Ledroux, Tenita Morris, and Lenia Pierre.
UHealth International’s Compassionate Care
On May 11th my husband, Umberto Smalia, fell in a sauna while vacationing in the Bahamas, breaking his right leg in three places. From the moment he fell until his transfer off the island we endured a most traumatic ordeal. Unable to provide adequate care for him there, we contacted UHealth International to process his transfer to Miami.
From the very first contact with our concierge coordinator, Ms. Angelica Penaranda, it was evident that we had made the right choice. Ms. Penaranda was available around to clock, efficiently arranging his air transfer, arrival procedures, scheduling his surgery and making herself available to personally comfort me at all hours. Once we arrived at UM Hospital, the emergency room staff was waiting and ready to expedite his admission and take Umberto to the operating room where Dr. Sean P. Scully, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Professor at the University of Miami, performed the surgery. Dr. Scully was always accessible, ready to answer any questions and offer his support as did the entire staff at the hospital. The University of Miami team turned a disastrous experience into an example of efficiency, human care and compassion.
77 Year-Old Patient Found the Best Doctor
Gilberto Huguet has been treated by several doctors over the past 26 years and says he has now found the best: Eduardo de Marchena, M.D., chair of the University of Miami Medical Group, former chief of cardiology, and now director of the International Medicine Institute. “He has a tremendous amount of warmth,” says Huguet, 77, of Miami. “He’s not just a very good doctor, he’s a very good human being.”
Huguet says there is a history of heart disease in his family. “Cousins and uncles have died from heart disease, one of them at age 43, so I feel lucky to be alive at 77,” he says. Huguet, an accountant, was vacationing in Madrid at age 51 when he had his first heart attack, but he didn’t know what it was until he returned home. “I felt pressure in the chest, felt cold, and wanted to vomit, so I thought it was a stomach problem,” he says. When he came home, a cousin who is a physician recommended a stress test. “They did the test and wouldn’t let me leave the hospital,” he recalls. He needed a quadruple bypass. He stopped smoking, started walking, and followed his doctor’s orders.
For 12 years he was healthy, then started feeling bad again. This time he needed a double bypass. About five years ago, he began seeing de Marchena for regular checkups and learned he needed yet another surgery. De Marchena referred him to Tomas Salerno, M.D., director of cardiothoracic surgery in UM’s DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery. Salerno performed a minimally invasive procedure using just two small incisions to do a heart repair.
“The recovery time was much shorter,” Huguet says. “The doctor and the nurses and the follow-up team were magnificent.” He was soon enjoying life again with his wife and two birds, a parrot and a cockatiel. Huguet has become a writer since his retirement. His published his first book, Images from Havana, a work on the history of that city. A novel is in the editing process. He continues to adhere to instructions from his doctor, is sticking to a heart-healthy diet, and most days takes three 15-minute walks. His advice to anyone facing heart surgery? “Don’t be afraid. Go ahead and get it done,” he says.
Professor Emeritus Entrusts His Wife’s Care to UHealth International and Dr. Sean Scully
During a cruise to Eastern Europe, my wife Marta Ferreiro, fell into an unlit Jacuzzi fracturing her left leg in several places. She endured three nightmarish days of poor healthcare on board the ship and in a foreign hospital in Vienna where we were not able to communicate with the clinicians and caregivers. I called Dr. Eduardo de Marchena, a long-time friend and Associate Dean of International Medicine in order to have her transferred to the University of Miami Hospital. UHealth International made arrangements for her transport from Europe and had an ambulance waiting for us at the airport.
The compassionate and professional care she received from the UHealth International office, the hospital admissions staff, concierge coordinators, floor nurses, the Hospitalist group and the Orthopedic Department was in stark contrast to what we had received in Europe and was highly commendable. Dr. Sean P. Scully, Professor of Orthopaedics, met us as soon as we arrived at the hospital on August 14th and scheduled Marta for surgery the following morning during which he expertly repaired the fractures followed by an excellent post-operative course.
It was clear that once we arrived at the University of Miami Hospital, our long ordeal had come to an end. From August 9th, the day of the fall, until August 13th our healthcare experience abroad had been one of constant worry, frustration and confusion. From the moment Ms. Isabel Barnes and Dr. Scully met us at the hospital on August 14th, we knew that our worries were over and that we were in the best of hands.