Home Hospitals & Clinics Tampa General Hospital Deadly mitral valve repair

Tampa General Hospital  -  Deadly mitral valve repair

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10:09 am
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My beautiful 85 year old Mama was admitted to Tampa General Hospital for shortness of breath. After several weeks of diagnosing and indecision on the family's (my brother, my Mom and I) part she agreed to have her mitral valve replaced on August 22, 2016 by Dr. Christiano Caldeira. Her condition never really significantly improved. After 1 and a half months and several Tee's and echo-cardiograms it was determined that some of the stitching had come loose from the valve's annulus or base (about 10%- 15% I was told by the doctors) causing a significant paravalvular leak coming from the base of my mom's supposedly professionally replaced mitral valve. I was then told she was a candidate for and would require a trans-catheder delivered device called an Amplatzer Plug 4 (also known as a PDA closure). After one unsuccessful attempt the cardiologist (Dr. John T. Sullebarger) said he would try a different approach in a couple of days from the bottom this time (whatever that means- same destination, different approach. The doctor came out to greet the family after several hours and said he was unsuccessful once again but said she was "stable" and we could see my beautiful mother in a few minutes. This was now Thursday October 13, 2016. In the meantime we hear a code blue over the intercom and did not realize what was going on. We were corralled into a small room where we were told that her heart rate had jumped to a critical level (close to 200 I thought I heard). Dr. Sullebarger said they were attempting to revive her but I heard Dr. Xavier Prida (for whom I have the utmost respect) mention the word "perforated" saying he hoped that wasn't what happened. He then looked me straight in the eye and used the words "I'm not sure she's going to make it". My Mama passed away a few minutes later. Needless to say I am devastated without her as I was told this was a "routine" procedure (Dr. Sullebarger said he has done "thousands") and supposedly TGH is the "heart valve center" in Florida or so they say. I want this to be a warning to all about this type of procedure. All I have left of my mom is grief counseling sessions . I would like to thank the nurses and staff at TGH for their kindness and how well my mom was treated by them. I would also like to thank 99% of the doctors including Dr. Myint, Dr. Douglas McFadden, Dr. Dooshup Shin, Dr. Ruiz Ramon, Dr. Abuzaid and Dr. Robert Hooker. I would also like to thank Dr. Chae, Dr. Thacker and Dr. Pierce who tried to talk us out of the surgery originally. In hindsight I wish we had listened to them! Most of all I want to thank the greatest cardio-thoracic surgeon I will ever know - Dr. Cedric Sheffield who back in 2008 replaced my mom's aortic valve (with no leaks by the way) and gave her all these years of life since then. This man has the patience to explain a procedure without ever talking down to you. He sat on the edge of my mom's hospital bed like a real man and spoke to her and made her feel comfortable with him. His bedside manner is unparalled - unlike his former partner Dr. Caldeira- a cold, unfeeling man with apparently very little emotion or perhaps does not know how to show it. I thought highly of this man at first - thinking that's just the way he is but now I'm not so sure. He never fully explained what went wrong with my mom's mitral valve replacement either to my mom, my brother or myself. He was quick to wash his hands of the matter and defer the valve repair to someone else. But I do truly believe Dr. Sheffield was heaven sent- perhaps an angel! In my Mom and I's book he certainly was on that day in the year 2008 so long ago. My brother Marc who is no longer with us and can now be with Mom in heaven got to meet this man. I should have taken my mom to see him at The Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida where he has distanced himself from Tampa General Hospital. I have the feeling she would be alive today if I had done so. My brother Nelson and myself are all that is left now of our family. I can no longer ask my mom a question or hold her hand or hear her lovely voice. I can no longer hold her hand or give her a kiss. I can only weep tears of sadness as I type these words. If I can save just one person's life it will have been worth it to write this post.


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Jan 10, 2021 11:22 pm

Clearwater cardiology is the best, they have a large staff of cardiologist and each specialize in the same procedures, so they have done many more than this dude that claims he’s done “thousands”. Morton Plant has much better trained nurses as well, they know what’s going on and are very skilled. They aren’t docking around chatting and texting on their phones. Also, there is a larger population of older people that go to Morton Plant, so they’re treated better. My, and many others experience with TGH is they want to push the DNR on older folks, sadly. They’re pretty bad.

Oct 21, 2016 8:06 am

Couple things at play here. Your mom's age, the wait time between your family's indecision and the actual procedure, and the human body's reaction to a surgical procedure. Many things can cause sutures to come loose. I had it happen to me when I injured my arm years ago. The doctor's did everything right. The body just heals the way it wants. The doctor did the right thing. Instead of getting into a confrontation with you, like it sounds you wanted, he referred your mother to another surgeon. Also, very smart.


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24 complaints
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