Cardiothoracic Surgeons Vital Part of Award-winning Cardiac Program

Cardiothoracic Surgeons Vital Part of Award-winning Cardiac Program

HealthPark Medical Center earned a number of distinctions from Healthgrades, including the Coronary Intervention Excellence Award and a ranking in the top 10 percent in the nation for cardiology services. There are a number of programs, services, physicians and caregivers that helped us achieve these honors one example is our cardiothoracic surgical team.

Comprised of Randall Buss, M.D., Paul DiGiorgi, M.D., and Brian Hummel, M.D., the team of cardiothoracic surgeons perform a variety of complex procedures, including open-heart surgery, da Vinci robotic heart surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting, minimally invasive valve replacement and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

These surgeons perform lifesaving procedures, explains Kandy Dewitt, director of surgical services at HealthPark Medical Center. We are proud to work with them to offer these leading- edge surgeries and therapies right here in our community. In other areas, patients have to travel outside of their community to find this type of care. Not having to deal with the added stress and expenses of traveling is a huge benefit for patients and their families. Our surgeons are experts and respected in their field. In fact, Dr. DiGiorgi and Dr. Hummel participate as teachers for other surgeons in national training programs for minimally invasive mitral and aortic valve surgery.

Kandy says a team approach ensures quality and safety. In addition to the highly talented and experienced surgeons, we also have dedicated, expert cardiac nurses, she says. Together, we all work to care for these high risk, often vulnerable, patients. We are proud to say that we have excellent outcomes.

Sandra Simmons, nursing director of the open-heart intensive care unit, adds that the unit received a national award recognizing sustained elimination of hospital- acquired infections. Our open-heart ICU nursing team was one of eight in the nation that was recognized with this prestigious award from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Critical Care Societies Collaborative, she says. It takes the dedication and expert care of each and every cardiothoracic team member to achieve such excellent outcomes.

To monitor its outcomes compared to other, similar hospitals and health systems, HealthPark Medical Center participates in a national database the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Benchmarking ourselves with other facilities in the nation provides us with quality data, Kandy says. We can say we have excellent outcomes and we have the data to prove it.

Another member of the cardiac team who plays a vital role is Lee Lucas, Ph.D., program coordinator for the structural heart program. Dr. Lucas works extensively with the surgeons on the TAVR program, Kandy says. She is in touch with the academic community and knows what new therapies are being offered for cardiac patients. Patients undergoing the TAVR procedure have severe aortic stenosis the narrowing of the aortic valve and they are deemed inoperable by cardiac surgeons.

TAVR is the last option for many of these patients, so Dr. Lucas works with the patient and his or her family to make sure that they are well- educated and prepared for the procedure.

Once the surgery is complete and the patient is transferred to the open-heart ICU for recovery and ongoing care, the nursing team is focused on both the patient and his or her family.

By recognizing that we are here to care for the family as much as the patient, we are able to assure that care is holistic, Sandra says. We provide every family the education and resources needed to best support their loved one as the recovery phase progresses.

The cardiac team at HealthPark Medical Center is always striving to provide leading-edge procedures that offer the best outcomes for patients right here in our community, so our patients can remain close to home and their family and friends.

The surgeries, procedures and techniques our team does are extraordinary, and are the same done at larger institutions with comparable outcomes, Kandy says. I am in awe of what our team does every day.


“Benchmarking ourselves with other facilities in the nation provides us with quality data, ” Kandy says. “We can say we have excellent outcomes and we have the data to prove it.”

Robots in the Operating Room


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Randall Buss, M.D.

Paul DiGiorgi, M.D.

Brian Hummel, M.D.

Gulfcoast Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgeons
8010 Summerlin Lakes Drive
Suite 100
Fort Myers, FL 33907



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