Emergency -

University of South Florida

Lung Transplant Team Led by Dr. Kapilkumar Patel, Recognized as Culture Champions

The brother of a double-lung transplant patient and family liaison to the medical professionals involved in his sister’s care at Tampa General Hospital, wrote a two and half page letter to commend the Lung Transplant Team led by USF Health’s Kapilkumar Patel, MD, lung transplant pulmonologist.

“I am compelled to express our family’s heartfelt gratitude to [my sister’s] lung transplant team, led by Dr. Kapilkumar Patel, inclusive of his colleagues Dr. Timothy Floreth, Nurse Practitioners Hye Jeong (Fran) Robbibaro, and Tarica McCray as well as the dutiful and compassionate nurse teams covering the transplant recovery floors and thoracic ICU,” the brother said.

During an evaluation for the lung transplant program, the patient was immediately admitted into the hospital because of her continuously deteriorating condition. The patient eventually required life-saving measures. “I have no doubt in my mind that Dr. Patel’s expert knowledge and decisive action saved my sister’s life that day,” the brother said. Eventually, the patient received a match and underwent successful transplantation surgery. Excerpts from the brother’s letter read:

The transplant team, other specialized departments and nursing staff have provided exemplary care to [my sister] and genuine concern for our family’s need to be informed. No question is too small and no issue too broad. Our family has always felt listened to, respected and taken seriously.

Over the entire and continued duration of [my sister’s] care, Dr. Patel has always taken the time to explain complex medical information clearly and in a manner that we could understand. He consistently provides honest and accurate assessments of her condition and potential treatment options coupled with their likelihood of success. Despite the seriousness of any situation, he has an incredible ability to inspire optimism, while managing expectations. He is clearly dedicated to his profession and the patients he serves. He consistently put the needs of his patients above his own, reliably making ward rounds even in the aftermath of his own personal familial loss.

He embraces a multi-professional think tank approach toward the resolution of the myriad health challenges faced by [my sister], pushing, when necessary to obtain the best medical intervention across different specialties, therapies, and medications. His pro-active treatment and cross-specialty involvement is instrumental in preventing further complications to [my sister’s] health. His mantra of ‘I won’t stop fighting and neither should you’ accurately describes his commitment and is highly motivational for [my sister].

Timothy Floreth, MD, USF Health pulmonologist, is described in the letter as a, “relentless force” against the life-threatening infection the patient eventually battled. “Opposing the bacteria with his expertise, cornering it at every turn and utilizing cutting-edge, experimental treatments that only a professional with his expertise might be aware of,” the brother said. “Dr. Floreth makes a deliberate effort to contact our family on a periodic bases to ensure that we are informed of [my sister’s] health status and to answer any questions, which, in the wake of COVID-19 -mandated elimination of patient visitation, is extremely appreciated by the family. Every team has an ‘ace’ player that comes through for the team when things seem hopeless. Dr. Floreth is that team member that came through in the clutch for [my sister] and saved her life.”

The letter continues on to recognize Nurse Practitioners, Hye Jeong (Fran) Robbibaro and Tarica McCray, for providing excellent medical care that stood out from the rest because they made an effort to establish a more personal connection with the patient and her mother. “As medical professionals they provide invaluable direction and input to the team and family, catch emerging conditions before they spiral out of control, and provide medical counsel to [my sister] and my family when needed,” the brother said. “NP Robbibaro and NP McCray jealously guard [my sister’s} condition with focused vigilance, as if she were their own family member. They’re both unfailingly generous with their personal time, even checking in on [my sister] during their days off. While it may be easy to overlook these small gestures in the grand scheme of the elaborate medical treatment received by [my sister], it’s this kind of genuine heartfelt moral and emotional support that I believe has allowed my sister to endure this year-long and continuing ordeal.”

To recognize the Lung Transplant Team for their dedication to quality patient care and interprofessionalism, Dr. Patel and Dr. Floreth were presented with culture coins by Mark Moseley, MD, chief medical officer for USF Health. The closing statement of the brother’s letter is a reminder to everyone in health care that even the smallest gestures towards your patient mean the world to them. “We recognize that medical professionals save lives every day,” the brother said. “While this must become somewhat commonplace to them as individuals, it is never forgotten by the people whose lives they touch. My family and I will never forget the TGH family and the medical professionals cited herein.”