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  • Antwon, with Heather LaGuardia, MD

    When Antwon’s Kidneys Failed, He and His Wife Shared More than Wedding Gifts

    Antwon and Jequita, recently wed Millennials, were enjoying their honeymoon and looking forward to their life together.

    “We were literally on a high,” said Jequita, “and then he started feeling sick.”

    “(They) told me I had kidney failure, stage 5, and I had to start dialysis,” said Antwon. “I was devastated.”

    “End-stage renal disease is the eighth leading cause of death in this country,” said Heather LaGuardia, MD, medical director, Living Donor Kidney Program at Memorial Healthcare System. “Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate; it’s every age.”

    Fortunately for Antwon, Jequita volunteered to be a living donor — and was a match. The transplant was a success.

    “We have a personalized approach,” said Joseph Africa, MD, surgical director, Adult Kidney Program at Memorial Transplant Institute. “The donors are angels and heroes, and we are just here to make it happen.”

    “Yes, I saved his life, but Memorial gave us our lives back,” said Jequita.  

  • Jan, being pushed in her wheelchair by her daughter

    After Heart Valve Replacement, Jan’s Planning Her Golden Years

    For years, Jan struggled with weakness and fatigue that kept her from enjoying her life to its fullest.

    “I was miserable,” said Jan. “My previous cardiologist picked up on nothing; I was told to go home and rest."

    Her health problems got worse, and she was hospitalized at Memorial Hospital Miramar. She received a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, was treated for fluid buildup and even received dialysis for kidney failure to help stabilize her.

    But Paola Casanova, MD, cardiologist at Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute, suspected severe aortic valve stenosis. “We performed a dobutamine stress echocardiogram to see if other tests were underestimating the severity of the stenosis,” she explained.

    The test did prove the severity, and Jan received a TAVR transaortic valve replacement.

    Now age 70, her recovery has allowed her to spend her golden years enjoying life with her daughter, her son and four beloved grandchildren.

    “I’m feeling much better now,” she said.

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  • drs. aharon ari sareli and holly neville

    Sareli to Lead Clinical Efforts for Memorial Healthcare System

    Aharon (Ari) Sareli, MD, a critical care physician and longtime clinical and executive leader, has been named chief medical officer by Memorial Healthcare System. In a related move, Memorial appointed Holly Neville, MD, its associate chief medical officer.

    The new partnership brings both adult and pediatric specialists with medical and surgical expertise to CMO positions and directly connects the system’s executive leadership to the front lines of care. Both Dr. Sareli and Dr. Neville will maintain their current roles; he as chief physician executive of the Memorial Employed Physician Enterprise, and she as chief of pediatric general surgery and program director of Memorial’s surgical residency program.

    “Both Ari and Holly have worked throughout our system, earning respect and elevating patient care through collaborations with fellow physicians, nurses, and operational teams,” said K. Scott Wester, Memorial Healthcare System CEO. “They and our many other medical leaders will maintain a focus on delivering clinical quality and critical services to patients while also educating the next generation of physicians.”

    Memorial’s executive team solicited feedback from a variety of stakeholders before creating the CMO partnership and further aligning its medical community. “Pairing Dr. Neville and I enables the position to span the depth and breadth of clinical operations.

    Ari SareliAri Sareli, MD

    Throughout my career, I’ve embraced servant leadership and never shied from doing what was needed to advance the delivery of care, whether at the bedside or executive suite,” said Sareli.

    Dr. Sareli first joined Memorial Healthcare System as an intensivist in 2009, after completing his specialty training at the University of Pennsylvania with quadruple board certification in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, critical care, and sleep medicine. He was appointed director of Memorial Hospital West’s Critical Care in 2010 and chief of critical care for the system in 2012. Promoted to chief physician executive of the Memorial Physician Group (MPG) in 2019, Sareli served in an executive role with clinical leadership of the evolving organization. Under his leadership, MPG has grown to include 350+ physicians and 220 advanced practice providers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Sareli played a key role in front-line clinical leadership in critical care and served on Memorial’s COVID-19 Clinical Steering committee.

    Holly NevilleHolly Neville, MD

    In addition to being chief of pediatric general surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Dr. Neville is also program director of Memorial Healthcare System’s surgical residency within its Graduate Medical Education program. She co-founded and is the lead coach of the American Pediatric Surgery Association’s coaching program. Neville also serves on the education and wellness committee for the American Pediatric Surgical Association and on the boards of the University of Florida College of Medicine and the Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations.