Neuroscience ICU team reunites with former patients

USF neurosurgeon Dr. Siviero Agazzi, co-medical director of the Neuroscience ICU at Tampa General Hospital, hugs a grateful patient at the recent Cerebral Celebration.

USF neurosurgeons, neurologists and affiliated neuroradiologists, along with nurses and other caregivers at the Tampa General Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit, were reunited May 13 with patients they helped save.

The former patients, who gathered for the hospital’s first Cerebral Celebration breakfast, had been treated for a variety of neurological disorders, including brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, aneurysms, seizures and other metabolic diseases.

Some didn’t even remember what happened in the ICU because they had been in comas for days or weeks. All came to thank the doctors and other practitioners who helped them overcome severe brain injuries or disorders. 

Dr. Siviero Agazzi, USF associate professor of neurosurgery and co-medical director of the Neuroscience ICU, said the healthcare team was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the patients and their families following recovery. “Seeing them later on, once they get back into their lives and are happy to be alive again, makes us realize that we did the right thing … that we provided the proper care,” he said.

Nurses from the Neuroscience ICU welcome former patients and their families at the 1st annual Cerebral Celebration held May 13 at Tampa General Hospital. 

Tampa General’s Neuroscience ICU received the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence for Spring 2009-1010 from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses – a distinction earned by fewer than 1 percent of the ICUs in the country (73 units out of an estimated 6,000). The Beacon Awards recognize adult critical care, adult progressive care, and pediatric critical care units that achieve high-quality outcomes. This was the unit’s second Beacon award.

Tampa General’s is the largest Neuroscience ICU on Florida’s west coast. USF Health’s Dr. Agazzi co-directs the unit with Dr. David Decker, assistant professor of neurology at USF Health.  

The other ICUs at TGH that have been Beacon-certified include the Surgical Trauma ICU and Cardiothoracic ICU.

– Photos by Ellen Fiss, Tampa General Hospital