Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Training and caring go hand in hand at Tampa General

Dr. Devanand Mangar, chief of staff at TGH, and Charlotte Sutton take a break during the White Coat program.

Courtesy of Mike Matthews

Dr. Devanand Mangar, chief of staff at TGH, and Charlotte Sutton take a break during the White Coat program.

The best doctors spend their days performing marvels, from dramatic surgeries that save lives to smaller procedures that greatly improve them. I saw all that on a recent day in the operating rooms at Tampa General Hospital.

And I saw things I hadn't anticipated: Busy surgeons (many of them USF Health faculty leaders) ready to slow down and teach students, residents, even a reporter. Nurses eager to help a dad get the best photos of his new twins. And clever moves to preserve a patient's body art. More on that later.

Several times a year, Tampa General Hospital invites members of the community to spend a day in the White Coat Mini-Internship program, and I was in last week's class. You get a nice white coat inscribed with your name, but I spent most of the day in blue scrubs, shoe covers and a cap, getting close enough to see much of the action. My mentor for the day was chief of staff Dr. Devanand Mangar, who literally ran me between operating rooms. A few highlights of the skill and caring I saw:

• I started the day thinking I had wandered into the tool aisles at Home Depot, but no, the drills, hammers and chisels were there for knee and hip replacement surgeries. Orthopedics, I saw as the doctors hammered and drilled with utmost precision, is not for weaklings. Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Bernasek confirmed what I had heard about younger people getting surgeries once reserved for seniors. Not so much due to sports injuries. Mostly because our big bodies are wearing out our poor joints too early. Note to self: Lose 10 pounds. Stat.

• TGH-USF neurosurgeon Siviero Agazzi's painstaking efforts to reach a tumor on a young woman's brain stem were projected onto large TV screens, where observers experienced suspense no movie could match. I asked the head of neurosurgery, Dr. Harry van Loveren, whether a fat red blood vessel was supplying the tumor. He told me it probably was draining the tumor, and if Dr. Agazzi so much as nicked it, the whole thing could blow up. (He successfully removed the tumor and later told me the patient was recovering well.)

• Dr. van Loveren took us to another operating room as another surgeon delicately picked a large hematoma from the brain of an elderly woman who fell and struck her head. She had been taking blood thinners, a frequent contributor to such serious head injuries in seniors. Picture pulling grape jelly off the most delicate object imaginable, and you get a sense of the challenge.

• Dr. Mangar stopped running long enough to tell me a bit about his work as an anesthesiologist, and one little boy who left a lasting impression. Dr. Mangar told the child he was going to "put him to sleep.'' Then he saw the panic on the boy's face. Now the doctor tells his patients that he's going to "help them to sleep.''

• Seeing TGH-USF gynecologic surgeon Larry Glazerman and colleagues perform a laparoscopic hysterectomy through three tiny incisions, I couldn't help blurting: "That is so cool!'' Despite his mask, I could tell the doctor was smiling back as he agreed.

• Call me a sucker for cute babies and happy endings, but the most awe-inspiring moments came as I got to see four little ones come into the world, thanks to TGH-USF obstetrician Catherine Lynch and her team. One young mom had an elaborate tattoo, exactly where the C-section incision goes. Dr. Lynch, who despite her passion for helping women avoid unnecessary C-sections has probably performed more of these than she can count, studied the artwork intently, marking where she would cut. After the birth, her sutures brought the design back together flawlessly.

• By the way, if you ever thought it might be awkward to be a patient in a teaching hospital, what with all those people peering at you, think again. I saw nothing but the utmost respect for patients from all the TGH staff and USF students and residents.

It's really a privilege to think your body might help to train the next brilliant doctor.

Training and caring go hand in hand at Tampa General 03/26/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 25, 2010 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This 'SNL' writer is cracking up Twitter with his replies to President Donald Trump's tweets


    Josh Patten is a writer for Saturday Night Live. Earlier this month, he began responding to President Donald Trump's tweets as if they were private texts to Patten.

  2. Snooty the manatee's death prompts outpouring of support, petition to move Confederate monument


    BRADENTON — The South Florida Museum aquarium remains closed Monday and tributes continue to pour in following the shocking death of Snooty, the beloved manatee who captured the hearts of …

    Four-year-old Katie Blair pays her respects to Snooty at a makeshift memorial in front of the museum on Sunday. Katie and her family has visited the aquarium to see Snooty four times this year. 
Snooty was the world's oldest living manatee in captivity and celebrated his 69th birthday Friday at the aquarium. Aquarium officials described Snooty's death as a tragic accident and is being investigated. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]

  3. What to watch this week: 'Midnight, Texas,' Shark Week specials


    It's that time of year again. No, not back-to-school month or geek convention season - it's Shark Week.

    Midnight, Texas, a new supernatural series on NBC, premieres at 10 p.m. Monday.
  4. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner: 'I did not collude with Russia' (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, spent about two hours Monday answering questions from Senate investigators about his contacts with Russian officials, insisting he had not colluded with foreign agents before or after the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks to reporters outside the White House on Monday after meeting on Capitol Hill behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee on the investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. [Pablo Martinez Monsivais | Associated Press]
  5. Polk County officials urge owner to remove pet buried at public park

    Human Interest

    Lake Wales city officials are looking for the owner who buried their dead dog in a public park.

    Lake Wales city officials are looking for the owner who buried their dead dog in a public park. [Facebook]