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Latest News

  • bariatric testimonial antonio

    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.


    Everybody at Memorial was great — Dr. Melendez-Davidson, Sunny my dietician,” he stated. “I would recommend them to anyone. In fact, I recommended them to my wife, and she’s starting the process.
    -- Antonio



    AvMed Renews Partnership With Memorial Healthcare System

    AvMed, one of Florida’s oldest and largest not-for-profit health plans, and Memorial Healthcare System, one of the largest public healthcare systems in the country, have renewed their multi-year agreement to ensure the community has the continued access they need to a broad network of providers, clinics, outpatient centers and hospitals for quality care at affordable rates throughout Broward county.

    The agreement is structured for long-term stability and improvement of the community’s health, while further strengthening AvMed and Memorial Healthcare System’s network relationship.

    “AvMed and Memorial Healthcare System have had a longstanding relationship. The enduring commitment both organizations have to offering the community a better health experience is what allows us to work closely to serve the interests of AvMed members,” said James M. Repp, president and chief operating officer at AvMed. “We believe in creating peace of mind by inspiring confidence in everything we do, and that includes selecting high-quality health systems to partner with, such as Memorial Healthcare System, to deliver exceptional care and service to our members,” added Repp.

    The announcement comes at an important moment for Broward County as communities everywhere continue to face a variety of challenges due to COVID-19.

    “These are unprecedented times, and it’s important for patients to have access to care and services that are critical to managing their healthcare journey,” said Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE, president and chief executive officer at Memorial Healthcare System. “We are pleased to renew this agreement and be a healthcare provider for AvMed members. We look forward to working with AvMed on behalf of the community we jointly serve.”

  • arm injection vaccination

    Memorial Healthcare System Urges South Florida Residents to Take Flu Season Seriously in the Wake of COVID-19

    The onset of flu season and the possible spike of COVID-19 cases this fall may create a serious health threat in communities while challenging healthcare systems in South Florida. This phenomena recently coined in the press as a “Twindemic” is referring to a possible surge of COVID-19 and a rise of flu cases this fall.

    To help prevent this and curb the number of flu cases, Memorial experts are urging South Floridians to get the annual flu vaccine.

    “By getting a flu vaccine you are protecting yourself, your loved ones, and our frontline healthcare workers from the real concern of facing a flu and COVID-19 surge,” said Dr. Paula A. Eckardt, Chief of Infectious Disease at Memorial Healthcare System.

    Dr. Paula Eckardt maskedDr. Paula Eckardt, Chief of Infectious Diseases

    “The flu is a preventable illness and the vaccine is readily available at your primary care physician, pharmacy, select major grocers and through our Memorial Urgent Care Centers.”

    October through March is typically known as flu season in North America, however Florida starts to see cases as early as September due to international travel from the Southern Hemisphere. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses.

    As of August, there is still no vaccine for COVID-19.

    A few more facts about the flu shot:

    • Flu shots do not cause the flu. The vaccine contains an inactive virus, meaning it is not “live.” While you may have some pain in the spot of the actual injection and mild symptoms, you should not experience typical flu symptoms as a result.
    • If you are over 65, there is a special vaccine for you. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent contains four times the antigen, the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.
    • People with egg allergies should speak with their primary care physician, because there is a flu vaccine for you.
    • Most pregnant women are encouraged to get the flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated also can help protect a baby after birth from flu, as mothers pass antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Experts recommend pregnant women to get a flu shot no matter how far along she is in her pregnancy.
    Rachel Guran maskedRachel Guran, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention

    “From babies to parents to grandparents, almost everyone can, and should, get a flu shot,” adds Rachel Guran, MPH, BSN, RN, CIC, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, Memorial Healthcare System.

    “The bottom line is that flu shots are more important than ever this year, and we can all take the right steps to protect ourselves and our families as we attempt to regain a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.”

    To share more information with the community, Guran recently debunked a few myths about the flu shot vaccine on our blog.