Comprehensive Care that Keeps Hearts Beating

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute continues to provide total heart care for patients as the leading cardiac program in South Florida. During the past year, the cardiac team has celebrated the successful completion of the 50th adult heart transplant, welcomed new leaders and expanded many of the institute’s unique programs.

“Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute continues to be truly a comprehensive cardiovascular program, providing medical, interventional and surgical treatments for all cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Michael Cortelli, Chief of Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

Memorial consistently achieves high-quality outcomes in all areas of the Cardiac and Vascular Institute such as adult heart surgery, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology and adult congenital heart disease. Our adult cardiac surgery program outcomes over the past 10 years have placed us among the highest-quality programs in the country. Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute continues to flourish welcoming two new surgeons.

During the last 12 months, Memorial’s cardiac teams:

  • Have maintained 3 stars from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for our coronary artery bypass graph (CABG) program and our aortic valve replacement (AVR) program
  • Completed the 50th adult heart transplant
  • Completed more than 500 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures to date, which are minimally invasive treatments for heart valve disease that avoid traditional open-heart surgery
  • Supported patients with COVID‑19 with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), one of the most advanced forms of life support, and served as a referral center for patients at outlying hospitals who required a higher level of care
  • Recognized with the Center of Excellence Gold Level ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). The award highlights programs that offer exceptional quality care in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Our cardiac imaging department has been accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) since 2014 for echocardiography, demonstrating excellence in patient care
  • The Memorial Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program has maintained its status as a comprehensive accredited program by the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) and remains the only accredited program in South Florida

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute has also been approved for Graduate Medical Education and will begin training cardiology fellows in 2021.

New Leadership

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute also welcomed new leaders after Dr. Richard Perryman, a longtime cardiac surgeon who helped build and lead the institute, retired at the end of 2019.

Dr. Cortelli took the helm of the institute, along with Dr. Ralph Levy, Chief of Adult Cardiac Medical Services, and Dr. Juan Plate, Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgical Services.

“As we move forward, our goal is to continue to provide comprehensive care and achieve high-quality outcomes, be able to reach more patients with our advanced therapies, and become a recognized academic force through research and Graduate Medical Education.”
Michael Cortelli, MD

Chief, Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute

Life Support Program Receives Gold Level Designation

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Memorial Regional Hospital have both been recognized with the Center of Excellence Gold Level ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).

Memorial Healthcare System is the only healthcare system in Florida that has received this distinction of ELSO Center of Excellence Gold Level Award for both pediatric and adult ECMO programs.

“We are extremely proud that our ECMO program has been recognized with this award, highlighting our commitment to excellence and showcasing Memorial’s Cardiac and Vascular Institute as the destination program for the highest quality cardiac care in South Florida,” said Dr. I-wen Wang, Chief, Adult Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute. “Our adult ECMO program is the only one in South Florida – and one of only 69 adult ECMO programs worldwide – to gain this recognition.”

ECMO is one of the most advanced forms of life support available to patients experiencing acute failure of the cardio-respiratory system. During ECMO, a machine pumps oxygen into the blood and removes carbon dioxide, allowing a patient’s heart and lungs to heal while still maintaining blood flow.

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute is also the only provider in South Florida offering mobile ECMO services to patients at other hospitals within and outside of our healthcare system.

Memorial’s cardiac team has served more than 160 patients with ECMO since the program began in 2014. They celebrated this milestone in January 2020 by inviting back all of the patients who have benefited from ECMO to share this special occasion with the ECMO team.

“The event was special for all of us – the medical providers and patients alike. It was great to see them again under such different and celebratory circumstances,” said Dr. Wang. “It is always such an honor to see patients who were once gravely ill back to living their lives thanks to the treatment and care they received at Memorial.”

Expertise for Danielle’s Irregular Heartbeat

For a scary five minutes, Danielle felt dizzy and sweaty as her heart rate raced above 200 beats a minute on her smartwatch. “It felt like someone was sitting on my chest,” she said.

“I just thought I was out of shape,” she adds. But when her symptoms, including shortness of breath, continued she turned to Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

Using data from her watch and additional tests, John Cogan, MD, Medical Director, Adult Cardiac Electrophysiology, diagnosed Danielle’s arrhythmia as supraventricular tachycardia and performed a cardiac ablation to repair it.

“It’s an electrical short circuit of the heart.” Dr. Cogan said. “The heart gets stuck in a loop going superfast. We find it and repair the short circuit.”

“It was a great experience from start to finish,” Danielle said. “Now, I know I’ll be here to take care of my son.”

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute electrophysiologists are among the most experienced experts in the region, safely treating hundreds of heart rhythm conditions each year.

A Story of Growth, Leadership and Excellence

One of the ways Memorial distinguishes itself as a regional medical provider is by offering South Florida residents leading-edge care for breast, lung and other cancers in their own backyard. In both treatment and research, Memorial Cancer Institute gives patients and families access to resources that they used to have to travel to other parts of the country to obtain. And Memorial Cancer Institute continues to grow – adding new resources, attracting new expertise, and earning new designations of excellence, all of which increase its ability to help patients be stronger against cancer.

Memorial + Moffitt = Excellence

Memorial’s partnership with Moffitt Cancer Center has helped make the Moffitt Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy program into one of the largest in Florida. Since its inception, the Memorial-Moffitt partnership has provided bone marrow transplants for 170 cancer patients, part of the 320 transplants that Memorial has performed since the transplant program began in 2007.

“Prior to our partnership, Memorial Hospital West had performed 110 transplants in 10 years, so together, we are really accelerating transplantation opportunities for patients here,” said Hugo Fernandez, MD, Chair and Medical Director, Moffitt Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy. Not having to travel outside South Florida was an additional bonus to patients when the coronavirus pandemic struck, he added.

The Memorial-Moffitt partnership also has yielded additional Centers of Excellence designations as a high-performing provider for hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Memorial this year received approval from Aetna Institutes of Excellence and the Humana Center of Excellence (contracts to join their respective networks are pending as of this writing). Memorial already has contracts as a Center of Excellence with Optum Transplant Network and Blue Distinction.

Fernando Vargas, MD

Dr. Vargas Joins Memorial Cancer Institute

Fernando Vargas, MD, an oncologist and hematologist who specializes in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, joined Memorial’s Moffitt Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy program in January 2020. Prior to joining Memorial, Dr. Vargas served as a medical director at the multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer.

“We are continuing to expand and bring in more expertise,” Dr. Fernandez said.

“Prior to our partnership, Memorial Hospital West had performed 110 transplants in 10 years, so together, we are really accelerating transplantation opportunities for patients here.”
Hugo Fernandez, MD

Medical Director, Moffitt Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy

Targeted Therapy Trials Offer New Hope

Two years ago, Luis E. Raez, MD, FACP, FCCP, Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Director, Memorial Cancer Institute, co-authored a study in The New England Journal of Medicine on the effectiveness of a revolutionary cancer drug, Larotrectinib, in adults and children – with Memorial as the only participating cancer center in Florida.

Now, Dr. Raez is leading a similarly groundbreaking, two-year trial to test the effectiveness of a new targeted-therapy medication, Selpercatinib, or LOXO-292. The drug shows promise against advanced solid tumors, such as those found in lung and thyroid cancers. Eleven patients have been enrolled in the study at Memorial.

“I believe this drug is going to be revolutionary for treating cancer, not just for lung and thyroid but, eventually, also for colon and pancreatic cancers,” Dr. Raez said.

As with the trials for Larotrectinib, Memorial Cancer Institute is the only cancer center in Florida participating in the research for LOXO-292. By bringing such leading-edge studies to South Florida, Memorial is working to expand the treatment options that the institute will be able to offer cancer patients.

“Research like this is very exciting because you can see first hand the benefits it brings to people’s lives.”
Luis E. Raez, MD, FACP, FCCP

Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Director, Memorial Cancer Institute

A Leading Presence at the State Level, via FLASCO

The largest and most active chapter of the American Society of Clinical Oncology is the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology, or FLASCO, with 4,000 members. And Luis E. Raez, MD, FACP, FCCP, of Memorial Cancer Institute, is FLASCO’s President. Elected in 2019, he will serve in the position until 2022.

“We do a lot of education, advocacy work and collaborate with many industry partners,” Dr. Raez explained. “We have a very active group of doctors here.”

Memorial’s profile in the organization has grown in the last decade, Dr. Raez said. From not having a single member other than Dr. Raez in 2011, Memorial now has representatives on the FLASCO Board of Directors and on many of its committees, including Clinical Practice, Disparities and Education.

“It’s important for our patients that Memorial has a major presence in a state-level organization like FLASCO,” Dr. Raez said. “Being in FLASCO means that we can offer cancer patients more educational opportunities, more screenings, and access to news about innovative drugs, treatments and new breakthroughs, like genetics. We also connect physicians in training to research and conferences, so our FLASCO activities benefit doctors as well as patients.”


Multidisciplinary Approach for Steve’s Bile Duct Cancer

“I kind of knew there was something not right in my body. Food wasn't tasting right.”

Steve was correct. Extensive testing led to a diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, a rare bile duct cancer.

Jennifer Zikria, MD, gastrointestinal (GI) medical oncologist at Memorial Cancer Institute, led his care team. “It’s very important to have a multidisciplinary approach when you have a liver cancer,” she emphasized.

“It’s a new world in cancer treatment, immunotherapy and precision medicine: You must be on the cutting edge of treatment,” she continued.

Steve’s treatment by the Memorial GI cancer team included chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.

“All my doctors are experts,” Steve said. “I totally trust them.”

“We are grateful for every single one of them,” added his wife, Denise, tearfully.

“The most rewarding part is seeing patients like Steve and the different teams working together,” said Dr. Zikria.

Memorial Neuroscience Institute Grows and Performs New Procedures

New Robotic Technology Improves Quality of Life for Young Epilepsy Patient

In February, the epilepsy team with Memorial Neuroscience Institute successfully completed its first use of a minimally invasive robotic device – Robotized Surgical Assistant, or ROSA™ – that helps pinpoint the origin of epileptic seizures in a patient. Memorial’s patient was a young woman who was suffering epileptic seizures every day.

With assistance from the robot, neurosurgeons only needed to make small, precise incisions in the patient’s scalp and skull, placing electrodes deep into the brain to investigate where her seizures were being triggered. ROSA™ is now in full use at Memorial Regional Hospital, where the groundbreaking surgery was performed. Memorial’s epilepsy center is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level 4 program offering the highest level of comprehensive and specialized care.

“Our first case was a great success,” said Christopher DeMassi, MD, FACS, Chief, Memorial Neuroscience Institute and Chief of Neurosurgery. “Without ROSA™, we would have had to open up half the patient’s skull and expose her brain. Instead, we were able to locate and remove the area in her brain responsible for the seizures in an extremely minimally invasive fashion, and she’s been doing outstandingly well ever since.”

Two weeks after the surgery, the patient was happily seizure-free, taking less medication, and able to return to school – a significant improvement in her quality of life.

“Overall, ROSA™ enables us to be much more minimally invasive, with a lot less blood loss, a lot less trauma, and much less potential for complications,” Dr. DeMassi said.

Innovative Surgery to Relieve Parkinson’s Earns Award

Dr. DeMassi and Howard L. Kreger, MD, received the Excellence in Core Values Award from the South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners in November, in recognition of performing the first deep brain stimulation surgery for the healthcare system at Memorial Regional Hospital.

Deep brain stimulation is brain surgery in which microelectrodes are placed into the center of the brain and connected, via wires tunneled underneath the skin to the chest, where a battery-powered stimulator is embedded to generate an electric current that alleviates tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Drs. DeMassi and Kreger and the imaging and surgical teams prepared for months to perform the surgery, which is available only at the most comprehensive healthcare centers.

The Board created the award for Memorial caregivers who display excellence in Memorial’s Core Values of integrity, teamwork, respect, compassion, innovation, efficiency, caring and commitment.

Memorial Leads in Treating Stroke

Someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds – and someone dies of stroke every four minutes. In acute stroke treatment, every minute counts, and can mean the difference between losing and saving critical brain functions.

For stroke patients in South Florida, Memorial Neuroscience Institute provides leading-edge treatment, which can preserve brain functions that might otherwise be lost. In a 12-month period, every Memorial stroke patient who was eligible for the clot-dissolving drug tPA received it within 60 minutes of arrival – and 91% of those patients received it within 45 minutes. Memorial’s median door-to-treatment time with IV tPA last year was 26 minutes.

Fast, high-quality care like this is a major reason that Memorial has received important national recognition for stroke. Memorial Regional Hospital is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center and Memorial Hospital West is a Joint Commission-certified Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center. Additionally this year, Memorial Regional Hospital and Memorial Hospital West received the new Target: Stroke Honor Roll Advanced Therapy designation for rapid treatment of stroke patients in the cath lab.

“We are one of the few healthcare systems in Florida with multiple hospitals that received this level of recognition,” said Brijesh P. Mehta, MD, Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Program. He added that Memorial has also continued to perform a growing number of brain aneurysm treatments – approximately 130 every year – with excellent outcomes.

“Memorial Neuroscience Institute is an incredibly valuable resource for South Floridians,” Dr. Mehta said. “There are only a few centers like us that provide such multidisciplinary care for stroke and for complex neurological conditions.”

New Leadership, New Expertise

With the retirement of Greg Zorman, MD, FACS, in early 2020, Christopher DeMassi, MD, FACS, assumed the posts of chief of Memorial Neuroscience Institute and Chief of Neurosurgery.

Dr. DeMassi is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he earned both a master’s of science degree in physiology and biophysics as well as his medical degree. He completed his internship in general surgery, his residency in neurological surgery and his fellowship in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“It was an honor and pleasure to work alongside Dr. Zorman, who was an amazing mentor, teacher and friend,” Dr. DeMassi said. “Memorial Neuroscience Institute is continuing on a great trajectory, and we’ll continue to grow and expand,” he added, noting that the institute now has on staff 10 neurosurgeons (seven adult and three pediatric).

This year, board-certified neurosurgeon Luis R. Romero, MD, joined Memorial Neuroscience Institute in September, to help patients with pain or neurological impairment from surgically treatable conditions of the back and neck. He also treats patients with traumatic injuries to the head or spinal column.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Romero earned his medical degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2007. He completed his internship in general surgery and his residency in neurological surgery at St. Louis University Hospital, and then completed his fellowship in complex spinal neurosurgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Stepping Up to Promote Stroke Treatment During Covid

The neuroscience team became concerned when they saw a drop in numbers of stroke patients arriving at Memorial’s emergency rooms as the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“People were not seeking timely medical care, especially for strokes,” said Brijesh Mehta, MD, Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Program. “They were waiting too long to come to the hospital, which was leaving them out of eligible treatment windows.”

The team quickly moved to produce public service announcements reassuring the community that emergency rooms were safe and that stroke patients should not delay coming to the hospital. “I think the education we did in April resonated with our community,” Dr. Mehta said.

Like the rest of the healthcare system, Memorial Neuroscience Institute rapidly moved to telehealth options to keep patients’ neurological care uninterrupted during the pandemic.

“Although it was pretty challenging from the standpoint of doing a neurological exam, we could visually test patients’ speech and walking and assess their symptoms,” Dr. Mehta said. “In an unprecedented situation like a pandemic, telehealth is definitely the way to safely conduct clinic visits.”

Memorial ‘Family’ Helps Comedian Survive Brain Tumor

“It’s actually starting to heal. There’s a scar there. And yeah, young Frankenstein. I’m alive! I’m alive!” jokes south Florida comedian Kyle Grooms, who had surgery at Memorial Neuroscience Institute to remove a benign brain tumor.

“I’ve been doing standup comedy for 23 years, and thank God for Memorial because I can do it for much longer now,” he said.

After having a seizure, Kyle was rushed to Memorial with tremors and weakness on his right side. A CAT scan showed a hemorrhage in his brain. Worried that his career and quality of life might be in jeopardy, Kyle trusted his Memorial neurosurgeon Clinton Burkett, MD, who told him surgery was the only option.

Dr. Burkett performed a successful left frontal craniotomy. Kyle made a full recovery, and he remains impressed with his positive care experience at Memorial.

“If you have to have a hospital experience, it should be like with family, and I felt like these people were extended family,” Kyle said.

Another Successful Year Despite Covid‑19

Memorial Transplant Institute had another successful year, with transplant surgeons performing adult and pediatric heart and kidney transplants despite the COVID‑19 pandemic.

“We continue to be a place where doctors can send their patients to have their kidney and heart disease managed by a multidisciplinary team in one convenient location,” said Dr. Juan Arenas, Chief of the Memorial Transplant Institute and Chief of the Pediatric and Adult Surgical Kidney Transplant Programs.

The transplant institute remained open throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic, with surgeons continuing to perform safe and effective transplant procedures.

16 Adult Heart Transplants
11 Pediatric Heart Transplants
35 Adult Kidney Transplants
3 Pediatric Kidney Transplants

*Transplants performed between Sept 2019 and August 2020

“We have adhered to very strict guidelines and protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and have been very careful about who and when we transplant and had excellent outcomes,” Dr. Arenas said. “We are proud to be able to manage care for our patients despite the restrictions that COVID has imposed on medicine and transplant programs.”

To date, the transplant institute has had a total of 2,200 patient referrals, averaging about 40 to 50 per month. As the kidney transplant program continues to expand, the transplant team is growing, too. The institute is now home to three kidney transplant surgeons and hopes to add a second transplant nephrologist soon.

The transplant institute provides all of its services in one convenient location and offers a seamless transition for pediatric patients as they become adults.

“At Memorial, we have a growing team of trained and specialized transplant specialists including pharmacists, social workers, coordinators and more,” Dr. Arenas said. “Everyone on our team specializes in providing care for transplant patients before, during and after the transplantation process.”

“We continue to be a place where doctors can send their patients to have their kidney and heart disease managed by a multidisciplinary team in one convenient location.””
Juan Arenas, MD,

Chief, Memorial Transplant Institute and Chief, Pediatric and Adult Surgical Kidney Transplant Programs

Georgia Kidney Donor Steps Up for Florida Patient

Knowing she needed a new kidney, Rhonda was living with uncertainty. “Before I got the transplant, I was close to going on dialysis,” she said.

Her doctors were hoping for a donor so she could avoid dialysis, which can cause complications with a transplant. “Because he stepped up, I didn’t need dialysis.”

Rhonda is referring to her co-worker John, from Atlanta, who offered to donate his kidney to her when he found out they had matching blood types. “I was like, get out of here,” said Rhonda.

But John was serious, and soon their lives were forever joined by kidney transplant surgery.

“This young lady had second-stage kidney disease secondary to a recurrent autoimmune disease,” said Juan Arenas, MD, chief, Memorial Transplant Institute. “I performed the donor operation; Tjasa Hranjec, MD, trauma and acute care surgeon, and Kathryn Shaw, MD, transplant surgeon, did the recipient operation.”

“It went very, very well,” he added.

“All of the doctors are great. The nurses are great. They’ve taken really good care of me,” Rhonda concluded.

Orthopaedics, Cardiology & Heart Surgery Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has ranked among the top 50 children’s hospitals in the nation for Orthopaedics and Cardiology & Heart Surgery in the 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking by U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice.

The hospital is once again the highest-ranked children’s hospital for Pediatric Orthopaedics in Florida, and among the 25 best in the U.S., and ranked among the top 50 in the nation for its Cardiology & Heart Surgery program, based on patient outcomes, clinical resources and utilization of best practices.

“It is an honor for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to be recognized among the top nationally-ranked children’s hospitals once again,” said Caitlin Stella, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

“The prestigious rankings of Orthopaedics and Cardiology & Heart Surgery reflect the expertise and commitment of our entire care team who works diligently to deliver the region’s highest quality and most innovative pediatric healthcare. It is with great love and compassion for the community we serve that we accept this recognition. We will continue to advocate for children’s health and provide the highest quality care for children right here close to home.”

This recognition reflects the innovative and multidisciplinary medical expertise available at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is the largest group of fellowship-trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeons in South Florida, and one of the busiest in the country, providing world-class care for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and sports-related injures affecting children, adolescents and young adults. The Pediatric Heart Institute is one of only three programs in the state offering comprehensive heart care, including congenital heart disease and heart transplantation, and most recently spearheaded a multi-disciplinary team to treat children experiencing MIS-C, an inflammatory illness associated with COVID‑19.

“It is an honor for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to be recognized among the top nationally-ranked children’s hospitals once again.”
Caitlin Stella, MPH

Chief Executive Officer, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital

Half a Heart Made Whole

Before Ariana was born, an ultrasound revealed a severe defect in her heart.

"She was going to require a lot of procedures starting in the first weeks of life," said Frank Scholl, MD, chief, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Heart Institute.

"Ariana had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Essentially, she was born with half of a heart," according to Steven Bibevski, MD, pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon.

"We were so scared," said Ariana's mom, Maria.

After surgery, Ariana's pediatric intensive care physician Teresa Duncan, MD, sat down with Maria. "We talked about what the journey was going to be, and that we were going to take every step with her," she said.

"And I was able to vent my questions and worries and she tells me, 'I will treat your baby as my child,'" Maria shared. "And she opened a scripture on her cell phone about the armor of God. It was a beautiful gift."

As Ariana's journey continues, her family is grateful for every moment together, and for the care they receive at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

As Ariana's dad Gabriel put it, "You need that support, and they give it to us 100%."

Bringing Services Closer to Families in Palm Beach and Beyond

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital continues to expand its presence in Palm Beach County to provide the specialized care it’s known for to children and families closer to home.

The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center in Wellington opened its doors in February 2019. The 31,000-square-foot center joined two Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital physicians’ offices already serving the community in Boca Raton.

“We are bringing the physicians and specialty care closer to families in Palm Beach County, making it easier than ever for them to access the care they need,” said Dawn Quaranta, Vice President of Regional Operations for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “We want to provide the community with coordinated pediatric services that ensure continuity of care in one location.”

The center opened its doors offering services in six specialties — endocrinology, pulmonology, otolaryngology, orthopaedics, general surgery and neurology — along with imaging, outpatient surgery and therapy/rehabilitation services.

Due to high demand, additional services have already been added including monthly clinics where specialists in neurosurgery, cardiac care, craniofacial, allergy and audiology travel to the center to see patients.

Located just an hour’s drive from Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, the specialty center has attracted families from Palm Beach County and beyond – from as far away as Orlando.

The low-dose radiation technology for pediatric patients has been a big draw, as well as services for children with complex cases or chronic conditions. This includes rehabilitation and therapy services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, which often require multiple appointments each week.

“We’re committed to supporting the community and the families in Palm Beach County,” Ms. Quaranta said. “We will continue to expand as we look at the needs and services that could benefit families in the area.”

The Gift of Everyday Life

Five-year-old Noah loves to splash and play with his younger sister in their pool.

“To see Noah in the pool is one of our greatest joys,” says his mom, Lisa. “He’s learning to hold his breath.”

“Nobody who meets him now can ever believe that his life was once very much at risk,” she adds.

But these simple pleasures seemed unfathomable when Noah was a baby. He was born with respiratory distress syndrome. According to his doctor, pediatric ENT specialist Samuel Ostrower, MD, Chief, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Noah’s airway was so narrow it was like breathing through a coffee stirrer.

“Once we had his airway opened, everything changed,” said Lisa. “That one procedure literally saved his life.”

“We definitely appreciate how far he's come and that he doesn't have any side effects or symptoms,” agreed Noah’s dad, Mike. “They have the expertise that we needed.”

“At Joe DiMaggio, the trust was instant,” Lisa concluded.

Children’s Hearts are in Good Hands at the Heart Institute

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute continues to provide leading-edge care for children with complex heart conditions, offering the latest surgical, interventional catheterization and electrophysiology procedures, heart assist devices and transplants. Cardiac specialists have also successfully treated children with illnesses associated with COVID‑19.

As one of the top pediatric heart programs in the country, the institute offers specialized cardiac care for patients ranging from the tiniest, most fragile newborns to young adults living with congenital heart conditions.

“The goal of the Heart Institute is to provide the best quality of care for patients in South Florida and throughout the southeastern United States so that they don’t have to travel far to get the care they need,” said Dr. Frank Scholl, Chief of the Heart Institute at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

In addition to offering congenital heart surgery, the hospital is home to physicians who specialize in catheter-based treatments that help to avoid the need for surgery. This includes closing extra vessels in tiny, premature babies and catheter-based valve replacement in older patients.

For patients with end-stage heart failure, the center offers a broad array of devices that support failing hearts and is one of the most active pediatric heart transplant centers in Florida. A multidisciplinary team offers patients a second chance at life by providing extraordinary care and support for children and their families as they navigate the lifelong journey of heart transplantation.

As South Florida became a COVID‑19 hotpot in 2020, cardiac specialists at the Heart Institute treated patients with Multisystem Inflammatory Disease in Children (MIS-C), which is associated with the coronavirus.

“We have seen and continue to see a number of cases of MIS-C associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” said Dr. Laura D’Addese, heart failure specialist. “Our multidisciplinary team is working tirelessly to learn about this novel disease, to optimize treatment, and to ensure that our patients recover and go home to their families.”

“The goal of the Heart Institute is to provide the best quality of care for patients in South Florida and throughout the southeastern United States so that they don’t have to travel far to get the care they need.”
Frank Scholl, MD

Chief, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute

Living Life to the Fullest

Johnny was born with a heart defect. When he was 8, he developed an infection that required open heart surgery. His parents trusted his care to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

“It was a pretty intense and scary thing,” said his dad, John, but Johnny came through surgery successfully. “They gave me my boy back.”

Today, Johnny lives the full life of a regular teenager, playing sports and even running Tour de Broward every year with his surgeon, Frank Scholl, MD, Chief, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute.

“It’s the reason why we do what we do, is to get kids back to their families,” said Dr. Scholl.

Johnny plans to be a paramedic someday, so he can pay it forward and care for others the way the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital team took care of him.

“To see him flourishing, what better evidence of what a hospital can do for a family, for a child,” dad said.

Surgical Epilepsy Program Offers More Options for Children with Seizures

The Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital now offers surgical options for children living with seizures.

The pediatric epilepsy surgical program at the hospital’s Neuroscience Center is the first of its kind in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and builds upon the longstanding epilepsy services offered at the hospital.

“We have a multidisciplinary team that provides expert and individualized care for each child, ” said Dr. Syndi Seinfeld, Medical Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program. “Epilepsy surgery is necessary to achieve seizure freedom and stop the progressive effects that uncontrolled seizures have on children.”

The pediatric epilepsy team is composed of pediatric epileptologists Dr. Syndi Seinfeld, Dr. Sima A. Parikh and Dr. Stefanie Berry; pediatric neurosurgeons Dr. Daxa Patel and Dr. Dean A. Hertzler; as well as a neuropsychologist, neuroradiologist and neuropathologist.

In June 2020, Dr. Patel successfully performed the first pediatric surgery aimed at stopping seizures in children with epilepsy at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The procedure was to help a 10-year-old Broward child with intractable epilepsy who had been suffering with seizures for three years.

“Surgery, when possible, offers a child a greater quality of life by decreasing medications and their side effects, and offers them a chance to live seizure-free,” said Dr. Patel.

In addition to its specialized team, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital also has ROSA™ (robotic stereotactic assistance), which is a robotic platform used to reduce surgical time and improve accuracy. This robot assists in the planning and performing of complex neurosurgical procedures, such as localization of seizures.

“We have a really passionate team that works together and is invested in each of the outcomes,” Dr. Patel said. “Everyone — from the neurologists and neurosurgeons to all of our experienced support staff — go the extra mile for our patients. Our goal is to figure out where the seizures are coming from and do our best to minimize or stop them so the child has the best possible quality of life.”


Looking Forward to the Future

Matthew’s shoulder first popped out of joint when he fell playing soccer. “And after that,” the 17-year-old says, “it kept popping out more and more often.”

An initial surgery attempt to repair the joint was unsuccessful. “I thought I was okay, but it popped out 10 more times,” he continued. “And I lost like 25% of my bone from that.”

A referral to Andrew Gupta, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, turned things around.

“The socket side of his shoulder had worn away so much, we chose a surgical approach to help reduce his chances of reinjury,” Dr. Gupta explained.

Dr. Gupta inserted screws to strengthen Matthew’s coracoid process, a hook-shaped bone that extends from the scapula, or shoulder blade, and helps hold the shoulder in place. That put an end to the dislocations.

And his recovery? “It’s going really well with physical therapy. I'm going to go to college, pursue music and soccer, score lots of goals. And not just focus on my shoulder anymore.”

World-Class Orthopaedic Care for Children and Young Adults

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is one of the largest and most experienced groups of fellowship-trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeons in the southeastern U.S. and is the highest-ranked program in the state of Florida by U.S. News & World Report. The physicians in the practice have all completed training at the top-ranked children’s hospitals in the country. The world-class care they provide has made them the go-to team for families throughout the region and beyond.

Specialty centers within the Department include the Spine Center; the Sports Medicine program; the Hip Preservation Center; the Limb Lengthening Center; the Concussion Clinic; the Performing Arts and Dance Medicine program; and the new Pediatric Hand and Upper Extremity Center.

“Our team has grown from a single, part-time pediatric orthopedist to one of the largest groups in the country,” said Dr. Michael Jofe, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics and Surgeon-in-Chief at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. “We are a full-service pediatric program providing both general pediatric orthopaedic care as well as leading subspecialty programs to address complex injuries and musculoskeletal conditions.”

The department is one of the busiest in the country and includes eight fellowship-trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, two board-certified fellowship-trained pediatric sports medicine specialists, and a support staff of nearly 100 dedicated professionals.

This year, they welcomed three new physicians:

  • Dr. Michael Aversano, a triple fellowship-trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hand and upper extremity care
  • Dr. Michael Dressing, a fellowship-trained pediatric sports medicine specialist who also treats patients with concussion injuries
  • Dr. Andrew Gupta, a dual fellowship-trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist providing care for patients in the Hip Preservation Clinic and the Performing Arts and Dance Medicine program

“We have a team-oriented approach to care, which is one of the most important aspects of our practice,” said Dr. Jofe. “We have more than 100 years of combined pediatric orthopaedic experience and no surgeon has ever left our practice. We collaborate on complex cases and often refer patients within the department to the surgeon or subspecialist best suited to treat a patient’s particular concern. Our goal is for our patients to feel that they are receiving the best care from a dedicated, compassionate and collaborative team.”

“We are a full-service pediatric program providing both general pediatric orthopaedic care as well as leading subspecialty programs to address complex injuries and musculoskeletal conditions.”
Michael Jofe, MD

Chief, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics and Surgeon-in-Chief, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital

Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program Offers Children New Chance at Life

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s Kidney Transplant Program offers specialized care for children living with kidney disease before, during and after the kidney transplant process.

The program, which is part of Memorial Transplant Institute, works closely with the adult kidney transplant team. In just two-and-a-half years, the Memorial Kidney Transplant team has performed 100 kidney transplant procedures.

“We have transplanted seven children in a two-year period with 100-percent survival and 100-percent survival of allograft,” said Dr. Reem Raafat, Medical Director of the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program. “Our expert team has offered a comprehensive approach to our children with kidney failure, allowing them to have a life close to normalcy without dialysis and its complications to grow into healthy adults.”

Memorial Transplant Institute is the only pediatric and adult provider for both heart and kidney transplants in the Broward County area. At the center, patients have access to all of the specialists they need in one convenient location.

In addition to pediatric nephrologists, pediatric dialysis staff, social workers and child life specialists, Memorial also has a dedicated transplant pharmacy working closely with the transplant physicians in the inpatient and outpatient settings.

“Our support staff and support services really elevate our program. Patients have access to everything they need here,” said Dr. Alexandru Constantinescu, Medical Director of Pediatric Nephrology at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “We have the support of the hospitals’ intensive care units, the pediatric emergency room, the blood bank, our pediatric dialysis staff, radiology and much more.”

Since the pediatric transplant team works closely with the adult transplant team, pediatric patients have a seamless transition as they get older, and can get the care they need for life at the Memorial Transplant Institute.

“We take great pride in providing expert, compassionate care,” said Dr. Constantinescu. “We walk with our patients every step of the way and are here to provide the exceptional care they need and deserve, close to home.”

“We have transplanted seven children in a two-year period with 100-percent survival and 100-percent survival of allograft. Our expert team has offered a comprehensive approach to our children with kidney failure, allowing them to have a life close to normalcy without dialysis and its complications to grow into healthy adults.”
Reem Raafat, MD

Medical Director, Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program


In 2018, Jermaine became Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s first pediatric kidney transplant patient. “What he has been through has inspired him to help other people, so he wants to be a paramedic,” said his mom, Shanequa.

Expert Care Throughout Pregnancy and Beyond

Memorial Healthcare System’s Family Birthplace welcomes more than 13,000 babies each year, many of whom require specialized care. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has neonatal and pediatric specialists at the ready to provide the expert care these babies need.

Memorial’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine team works closely and coordinates with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s specialists to provide seamless, expert care for both mother and baby throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond.

“Our families have the comfort of knowing that Memorial can handle all high-risk care for both mother or baby,” said Jane McCarthy, RN, BSN, MA, MCAM, Director of Nursing at Memorial Family Birthplace at Memorial Regional Hospital.

Memorial’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine is a multidisciplinary program that provides care for women whose pregnancies are high-risk or develop maternal and/or fetal complications. They also specialize in the care of women whose babies have congenital heart and other abnormalities, genetic disorders, poor fetal growth and other concerns.

Once complications are discovered, women are referred to pediatric specialists for prenatal consultations. Specialists provide monitoring during pregnancy, formulate plans for care at birth, and advise families on what to expect.

“When a mom and family come in to deliver, they already have established a relationship with someone who is going to take care of their baby,” said Dr. Rune Toms, director of neonatal cardiac services at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

The Wasie Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital provides level II and level III neonatal intensive care services for babies who require more care than the Newborn Nursery can provide. The NICU is the largest in Broward County, with 84 beds.

“We are a unique NICU in that we are a high-level, delivery NICU and a children’s hospital NICU,” said Dr. Toms. “We provide the highly specialized care for resuscitation and complications during delivery, and also have pediatric experts caring for chronic NICU patients.”

In addition to a family-friendly environment that encourages parents to bond with their babies, the NICU also has a NICVIEW webcam system that allows parents to see their newborn from a computer or mobile device when they are not by the bedside.

“Our multidisciplinary team is composed of highly committed members who strive for excellence for every patient,” Ms. McCarthy said. “I am honored to be part of a team that never loses sight of the family as a whole.”

Catch the Love to Expand Care for Children

Every year, hundreds of thousands of children rely on specialists at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for care. And the need keeps growing. Now, the Catch the Love campaign is raising funds to help the hospital grow, too, to enhance and expand its services.

Each donation – no matter how big or small – will help Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital treat and save the lives of more children in the community.

The donations will help fund a hospital expansion, adding four floors to the main hospital. The floors will house a designated Power of Play area and expanded facilities for specialized surgical, cardiac and intensive care.

Catch the Love donations will also strengthen leading-edge pediatric care and treatments in specialties including cancer, orthopaedics, neurology and neonatal services. The funds will also help extend services into more communities and support families caring for children as they recover from injury and illness.

“As we celebrate every milestone, from hundreds of thousands of kids treated every year to breakthrough advancements, many children still require our help,” said Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital CEO Caitlin Stella.

The love is already catching on in South Florida. In addition to contributions from previous patients, local families and supportive community members, the DiMino Family Foundation has contributed one of the largest donations ever received by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation. It is the family’s second donation in as many years.

To join our community in catching the love, and help give another child a healthier, happier tomorrow, click here.

“As we celebrate every milestone, from hundreds of thousands of kids treated every year to breakthrough advancements, many children still require our help.”
Caitlin Stella, MPH

Chief Executive Officer, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Services, Memorial Healthcare System

Collaborating with Other Hospitals to Improve Care

As part of Memorial Healthcare System’s goal to become the safest health system in the nation, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is collaborating with other children’s hospitals across the country to improve patient care and safety protocols.

In 2018, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital joined the Children’s Hospital Association’s Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) Network, a group of more than 150 children’s hospitals working together non-competitively to share, teach and learn from each other in order to improve hospital processes and outcomes.

“Even though we have a great culture already and are a safety-minded hospital, we can always learn to improve further,” said Dr. Ronald Ford, chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

The SPS network focuses on common safety concerns at children’s hospitals and presents its members with evidence-based approaches to standardize care. Hospitals can also get feedback and recommendations on their own unique challenges.

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has embarked on three different projects with the collaborative to further enhance and standardize its processes for the prevention of central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), pressure injuries and ventilator-associated events. The hospital plans to launch several more projects over the next year.

“Right away, we found that when we met with other hospitals in the collaborative we were able to come away with enhanced practices and also share some of our best practices with others,” Dr. Ford said.

Hospital leadership has pledged its support and resources to ensure teams working on improvement initiatives have what they need to successfully implement change.

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s “Be a Hero for Zero” campaign further encourages and empowers all staff members – from physicians, nurses and specialists to environmental workers and support staff – to take ownership of ensuring a zero-harm environment for patients and staff.

In addition to helping children’s hospitals improve safety, the collaborative has also shown to provide a cost savings for hospitals and patients.

“This process really forces us to look at our practices,” said Dr. Ford. “It ensures that they are evidence-based and standardized across the hospital.”

KidCierge: Providing Red Glove Service

Navigating a large healthcare system and managing care for a child is no easy task. But families seeking care at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital now have more help thanks to the hospital’s KidCierge™ team.

The KidCierge™ team coordinates and facilitates a seamless experience for children and their caregivers. They also assist referring physicians by connecting their patients with specialists at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

“We are here to help children get the care they need,” said Joyce Dorn, director of patient navigation and KidCierge™. “Sometimes families don’t even know where to start. That’s where we come in. We are here to answer their questions, set up appointments and ensure they have everything they need during their stay.”

Launched in 2019, the KidCierge team has been especially helpful for families relocating to the area, those caring for children with complex or rare medical conditions, for caregivers overwhelmed with the process of seeking care with a new doctor and for physicians referring their patients to the hospital.

The team helps families manage logistics so they can focus on what matters most: caring for the child.

A member of the KidCierge team serves as a single point of contact for families before a visit. They can schedule multiple appointments with different providers, provide an itinerary for a visit, provide referrals to Conine Clubhouse or other nearby hotel accommodations, and collect medical records. They can also assist in finding the right physician or provider based on a child’s needs.

During a child’s visit to the hospital, the KidCierge team escorts families to their appointments, provides information about resources and activities in and around the hospital, and helps caregivers access MyChart to view a child’s electronic medical records.

“We’re here to make sure everyone visiting the hospital has the best experience possible,” Ms. Dorn said.

Complex Care Program Expands to Assist More Families

The Complex Care Program at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, which provides coordinated care for children with chronic disease and complex conditions affecting multiple organ systems, is expanding its services to serve more children and their families.

While the program has been caring mostly for children dependent on technology (such as ventilators and tracheostomy tubes) and those discharged from the hospital’s intensive care units, the program is expanding to also serve children with autism, rare diseases and those who require care from multiple specialists.

“We provide another layer of support in addition to general pediatricians to provide more in-depth care, coordination of care and support services for families with children with complex needs,” said Dr. Amanda Porro, medical director of Clinical Effectiveness and Complex Care Programs.

“We know there are children with other complex needs who could benefit from our help, so we hope to reach out to more families and expand our reach geographically.”

The team is made up of a variety of specialists including pediatric intensive care specialist Dr. Jason Adler, Dr. Porro, palliative care specialists who assist with a child and family’s psychological needs, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and support staff experienced with working with children with complex needs, and a social worker who connects families to services including home health nursing and medical equipment.

A patient navigator assists families with scheduling appointments and arranging visits to subspecialists throughout the children’s hospital.

“We strive to provide parents with a level of comfort in knowing that they have a whole system of care that is behind them. We want them to know that they have a team that they can call upon to troubleshoot challenges that invariably occur,” Dr. Adler said. “We attempt to partner with a child’s pediatrician and specialists to identify care gaps to address them proactively.”

The team also helps to coordinate communication among multiple specialists, provides telemedicine appointments and offers guidance for parents as they prepare for their child’s future.

“We have a great team with a lot of heart,” Dr. Porro said. “We are passionate about ensuring these children are well taken care of.”

Memorial Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Center

Memorial Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine will be opening a new Fort Lauderdale location in Spring 2021. This will be a multidisciplinary space combining physician offices and physical therapy directly above an outpatient surgery center. Services will include non-surgical sports medicine care, orthopaedic surgery including outpatient hip and knee replacement, fracture repair, and arthroscopic surgery, as well as physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Effective Weight-Loss Program Keeps Emphasis on Continuous Care

Memorial’s ACS-accredited Weight-Loss Surgery Program had another strong year of offering complete weight management, providing not just life-changing surgical procedures but also the program’s hallmark: intensive, personalized follow-up care that encourages long-term, healthful lifestyle changes for both adults and teens.

The Weight-Loss Program’s care model and its emphasis on lifelong well-being could not afford to be interrupted – not even by a pandemic. So when COVID‑19 struck, the team – surgeons, patient navigators, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and mental health professionals – focused on providing continuous care under unusual circumstances.

To that end, the program moved online in March, said Brett Cohen, MD, Chief, Bariatric Weight-Loss Program. A seamless transition from in-person care to telehealth was crucial, he explained: Bariatric patients have strict care regimens to follow after surgery, whether they’ve had a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, a laparoscopic gastric bypass, or the placement of an adjustable gastric band.

“These patients are in a routine as to what they eat, how they exercise – care plans are customized to individual needs,” Dr. Cohen said. “All that got thrown out the window at the start of the pandemic. We had to make sure we kept people engaged and provided them with nutritional guidance, counseling, support groups and other services even if we couldn’t be with them in person.”

The team provided weekly remote counseling, redesigned exercise regimens to include outdoor activities, linked them to online videos – and provided lots of telehealth.

“We were dedicated to finding pathways for our patients to maintain their care programs under the new realities of the pandemic,” Dr. Cohen said. “Every component of the practice was engaged in that effort.”

Once restrictions began to be relaxed, the team began to slowly reintroduce patients into on-site care – including the resumption of weight-loss procedures under strict safety protocols.

“A large number of patients who have weight-loss surgery see their diabetes, hypertension and cancer risks improve if not totally resolve, as well as a prolongation of their life spans,” Dr. Cohen said. “The risk of weight-loss surgery is so small, and the benefits so immense.”

“We were dedicated to finding pathways for our patients to maintain their care programs under the new realities of the pandemic.”
Brett Cohen, MD

Chief, Bariatric Weight-Loss Program


Former Major Leaguer, Family Benefit from Weight-Loss Surgery

These days, when former MLB pitcher Antonio Alfonseca reaches into his closet, it may be for clothes he hasn’t worn in years.

“All my clothes from my baseball days, they fit me now,” he says.

After bariatric surgery with the Memorial Weight-Loss Surgery Program, he’s now well below his playing weight.

“I had injuries to my knees and back. I couldn’t play anymore,” he said.

“Before my surgery, I weighed 320 pounds and had high blood pressure,” he added. “Now I weigh 235, my blood pressure is normal and I can do anything I want.”

That includes cooking healthy food and leading the pitcher development program at Florida Memorial University.

His procedure, performed by Joseph Melendez-Davidson, MD, was sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve surgery. Along with diet and lifestyle changes, it’s part of a transformative strategy for a healthier life.

After seeing how this surgery had helped his son, he wanted the same for himself.

Obstetric Services Focus on Safety, Welcoming New Residents

Memorial Healthcare System, already a South Florida destination for one-stop comprehensive obstetrical and maternity services, continued working in 2020 to enhance those services and its overall commitment to providing safe, high-quality care. Two examples: Memorial’s Perinatal Patient Safety Initiative and its preparation to welcome the first class of OB-GYN residents in Memorial’s Graduate Medical Education program.

Emphasis on Safety Partners with Value Improvement

Memorial’s Perinatal Patient Safety Initiative is part of the system’s Value Improvement Program, which works to improve the quality of care and identify streamlined cost and revenue opportunities across the organization. Teams from all three Family Birthplace locations at Memorial participate, examining best practices and data to improve services for pregnant women and their babies.

Working to reduce unnecessary procedures, such as Caesarean sections and episiotomies that could result in additional risks, more bleeding and longer recovery times, plays a key role in achieving that goal, explained Todra Anderson-Rhodes, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Memorial Hospital Miramar. “Those procedures are generally accepted in our culture,” she said, “but the literature has shown that the best thing for the patient and the baby is the least complicated method, and in general, that’s a vaginal birth.”

For example, this past year the team deployed an internal communications campaign to encourage the use of the lower-cost drug Cytotec over the drug Cervidil to soften the cervix for labor induction. Substituting the one agent for the other helped ripen the cervix in efforts to reduce the incidence of C-sections and proved cost-effective for the system without additional complications, Dr. Anderson-Rhodes said.

“Our Perinatal Patient Safety team is multidisciplinary,” Dr. Anderson-Rhodes said. “We involve subject matter experts, physician and nurse leaders, and then once we do the legwork and develop a system approach, we have champions who help carry the message. We’re very comprehensive and intentional about involving all the stakeholders across the system so that we’re not working in silos.”

Overlying the entire initiative is Memorial’s unwavering commitment to patient safety, Dr. Anderson-Rhodes added.

“While there certainly are cases in which a procedure like a C-section is necessary,” she said, “what could be more patient- and family-centered than to allow labor to occur as naturally as possible, and safely bring a beautiful baby into the world?”

Getting Ready for the Residents

The addition of OB-GYN to Memorial’s Graduate Medical Education program generated an enthusiastic response during the 2020 fiscal year, with 60 candidates selected from more than 250 applications for four positions in the inaugural class.

Candidates applied to the four-year program from across the country and around the world, said Nigel Spier, MD, Medical Director, OB-GYN GME.

“The appeal of our program is that we offer the best of both worlds,” he said. “We function at a very high academic level and yet we remain a community-based hospital system. That means our residents can get good, solid community training at an academic level.”

The program also provides residents with the opportunity to train with a core group of physicians experienced in high-acuity cases, Dr. Spier added. “Very few hospitals in our area offer that,” he said.

The all-woman inaugural class arrived just after South Florida’s first wave of COVID‑19, giving them the unique experience of undergoing their OB-GYN training in the midst of a pandemic. While COVID has so far not appeared to transmit from mother to child in utero, maternity patients can be susceptible to it, explained Robert Hunter, MD.

“One of the things we learned is that pregnant patients may not display symptoms right away,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to have immediate COVID testing for all patients admitted to Labor and Delivery.”

Even in a situation like the COVID pandemic, the first year of the OB-GYN GME program has been a good experience, Dr. Hunter added.

“Having the residents always keeps us fresh and up to date,” he said, “especially as you add more residents each year, and the program becomes more robust as they’re fully integrated into the flow of our services. It raises the bar for everybody involved.”

Memorial Regional Hospital

3501 Johnson Street, Hollywood FL 33021

Peter Powers, FACHE
Administrator and
Chief Executive Officer
Memorial Regional Hospital

Benjamin Freedman, MD
Chief of Staff
Memorial Regional Hospital

Leslie Pollart, RN, OCN, MSN, MBA
Chief Nursing Officer
Memorial Regional Hospital

Since the opening of the one-story, 100-bed Memorial Hospital in 1953, the South Florida community has benefited from caring and compassionate healthcare at Memorial Regional Hospital. Today, as the flagship facility of Memorial Healthcare System, the 797-bed Memorial Regional Hospital, one of the largest in Florida, provides a wide range of treatments and technologies.

Memorial Regional Hospital South / Post-Acute Care Network

3600 Washington Street, Hollywood, FL 33021

Douglas A. Zaren, FACHE
Administrator and
Chief Executive Officer
Memorial Regional
Hospital South

Benjamin Freedman, MD
Chief of Staff
Memorial Regional
Hospital South

Shelly Delfin, APRN, MSN, NP
Chief Nursing Officer
Memorial Regional Hospital South and
Memorial Rehabilitation Institute

Memorial Regional Hospital South is home to the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute and Post-Acute Care Network. It includes Memorial Home Health, Memorial Manor Skilled Nursing Facility and Outpatient Therapy Services. Acute Rehabilitation Inpatient programs include Medically Complex/Cancer Rehabilitation, Brain Injury, Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury Program and Complex Orthopaedics. Additionally, the Rehabilitation Institute is ACGME-accredited as a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Residency Program. The Rehabilitation Institute is enhanced by its Adaptive Sports and Recreation Programs. Other services include Women’s Imaging and Diagnostic Center, Emergency Services, Surgical Services, Sports Medicine Center and Acute Inpatient Services.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital

1005 Joe DiMaggio Drive, Hollywood, FL 33021

Caitlin Stella, MPH
Chief Executive Officer
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
and Pediatric Services
Memorial Healthcare System

Gerald Lavandosky, MD
Chief of Staff
Joe DiMaggio
Children's Hospital

Jineal Shinn, MSN, RN
Chief Nursing Officer
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital

Back in 1992, Joe DiMaggio himself helped Memorial Healthcare System celebrate the opening of the first Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Today’s 226-bed facility opened in 2011 and offers a safe, compassionate and nurturing environment for our young patients and their families.

Memorial Hospital West

703 North Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028

Leah A. Carpenter
Administrator and
Chief Executive Officer
Memorial Hospital West

Douglas Smith, DO
Chief of Staff
Memorial Hospital West

Denise V. Reynolds, MSN, RN, NEA-C
Chief Nursing Officer
Memorial Hospital West

Memorial Hospital West opened in May 1992 with 100 beds to serve the growing population of western Broward. Today, the hospital has 486 beds and provides high-quality, patient- and family-centered care to one of the most populous counties in the nation.

Memorial Hospital Miramar

1901 Southwest 172 Avenue, Miramar, FL 33029

Grisel Fernandez-Bravo
Administrator and
Chief Executive Officer
and Chief Nursing Officer
Memorial Hospital Miramar

Pablo E. Uribasterra, MD
Chief of Staff
Memorial Hospital Miramar

Alberto Garcia, RN
Chief Nursing Officer
Memorial Hospital Miramar

It’s hard to imagine that when the City of Miramar was founded back in 1955, fewer than 200 people lived there. Today, Miramar is home to more than 120,000 residents who enjoy the many benefits of their community — including the outstanding community hospital that first opened its doors on March 17, 2005. Additionally, Memorial Hospital Miramar is among an elite group of hospitals in the US to earn The Leapfrog Group’s top grade for quality and safety in every rating period since 2012.

Memorial Hospital Pembroke

7800 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Joe Stuczynski
Administrator and
Chief Executive Officer
Memorial Hospital Pembroke

Blane Shatkin, MD
Chief of Staff
Memorial Hospital Pembroke

David C. Starnes, RN
Chief Nursing Officer
Memorial Hospital Pembroke

Memorial Hospital Pembroke joined Memorial Healthcare System in June of 1995, adding 301 licensed beds and a wide range of clinical expertise to the system. This fully accredited hospital’s team of skilled health professionals offers high-quality services and technologies.

Memorial Manor Nursing Home

777 South Douglas Road, Pembroke Pines, FL 33025

Jon Hennemyre
Memorial Manor Nursing Home

Since 1989, Memorial Manor has provided safe, compassionate and personalized care in a warm and inviting setting. This 120-bed nursing home offers individualized attention and treatment to help meet each resident’s needs. Memorial Manor has been consistently recognized for its excellent service, the commitment of its staff and the superior care they offer.

    Ancillary Facilities

  • Conine Clubhouse
  • Memorial Adult Day Care
  • Memorial Cancer Institute – Aventura
  • Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute – Aventura
  • Memorial Neuroscience Institute – Aventura
  • Memorial Neuroscience Institute – Midtown
  • Memorial Center for Behavioral Health and SHARE (Substance Abuse Program)
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Center – Hollywood
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Center– Pembroke Pines
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Center– Miramar
  • Memorial Home Health Services
  • Memorial Pembroke 24/7 Care Center
  • Memorial Urgent Care Center – Pembroke Pines
  • Memorial Urgent Care Center – Hollywood
  • Memorial Home Infusion/Memorial Specialty Pharmacy – Miramar
  • General Surgery and Pediatric Rehabilitation – Hollywood
  • Adult Pulmonology – Hollywood
  • Infectious Disease – Hollywood
  • Memorial Specialty Services – Weston
  • Pediatric Specialty Center – Weston
  • Pediatric Specialty Center – Boca Raton
  • Pediatric and Adult Specialty Center – Boca Raton
  • Pediatric Specialty Center – Coral Springs
  • Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center – Wellington
  • Memorial Primary Care – Dania Beach
  • Memorial Primary Care – East Hollywood
  • Memorial Primary Care – Hallandale Beach
  • Memorial Primary Care – Hollywood
  • Memorial Primary Care – Miramar
  • Memorial Primary Care – Pembroke Pines
  • Memorial Primary Care – West Miramar
  • Memorial Primary Care Center – Monarch Lakes
  • Memorial Primary Care Center – Silver Lakes