Two-for-One: HealthCARE Comes in Kindness & Medical “First” at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth

World Kindness Day was celebrated across the country yesterday, but it’s something we at HCA practice every day.

Pam Percival, director of community and public relations, at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, a member of HCA’s North Texas Division, is just one shining example of our kindness culture. During the course of her visits with 80-year-old Vickie Standley, the first patient in Texas to have her aortic valve replaced using the newly FDA approved Intuity valve system at Plaza Medical, Percival learned that the patient would need someone to care for her ranch animals while she recovered.

Percival, who lives approximately 42 miles away from Ms. Standley, could have nodded her head politely and never responded. Instead, she left those post-surgery meetings on a mission – a mission to commit to care!

She reached out to a friend who lived near Ms. Standley, who willingly volunteered to feed Ms. Standley’s horses every morning and help on an interim basis until she felt better. Ms. Standley’s daughter was grateful for the arrangement and had this to say:

“When I asked if you knew anyone who could help us, I knew I was grasping at straws that you would know anyone way out here,” Toni Melvin said. “Your friend is an amazing, caring and capable woman who I believe will be very dependable.  I don’t know how to even thank you. I’m in tears.”

As you can see, kindness comes in many forms and this one didn’t cost a dime. But its value…priceless.

HealthCARE comes in many forms, too, and at Plaza Medical Center, it was a two-for-one for Ms. Standley.  Thanks to the newly FDA approved Intuity procedure, which was previously only available in the United States in clinical trials, she wasn’t  away from her daily routine for very long and is already back to caring for her horses, dogs and donkey– with a few restrictions and some occasional help from her newfound friend and neighbor.

After suffering from aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening), the new rapid deployment valve procedure used by Plaza Medical Center’s cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Reza S. Khalafi will give her a faster and easier recovery.

“With the Intuity system, I only need to use three guiding sutures to place the valve, compared with about 16 sutures for a conventional aortic valve,” Dr. Khalafi said. “Since the procedure is simpler and quicker, we can shorten the time that the patient’s blood flow is interrupted during surgery. We can also use smaller, less invasive incisions. This benefits the patient by causing less pain, promoting faster recovery and helping to decrease complications. The Intuity system is an especially good option for patients, like Ms. Standley, who need both a valve replacement and bypass surgery.”

Research shows that extended cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) and aortic cross-clamping times are significant, independent risk factors in cardiac surgery, according to a 2015 article in the Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery. It says, “Any technique which shortens cross-clamp or CPB will have the potential to decrease the risk of complications.”

Each year, more than 200,000 Americans suffer with severe aortic stenosis, with more than 60,000 aortic valve replacement procedures performed annually.

Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth was the first hospital in Texas to use the new heart valve after clinical trials. Ms. Standley spent four days in the hospital, recovered in three weeks and is back tending to her beloved ranch animals and back to work at her job at a local retail store.

Vickie Standley, Perceval sutureless valve patient

Vickie Standley tending to her farm animals in Texas.