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  • Carmen shoulder replacement patient

    Shoulder Replacement Gives Carmen Her Life Back

    Carmen, a hairdresser, lived for years with worsening shoulder pain. It got so bad she couldn’t lift her arms. That meant she couldn’t serve her customers. She couldn’t even comb her own hair or dress herself.

    “I couldn’t lift my great-grandchild. The pain was unbearable. I fell into depression,” Carmen said.

    Her orthopedic surgeon, Alex Fokin, MD, Memorial Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Center, knew Carmen from a previous knee replacement. “Her diagnosis was bilateral shoulder arthritis — loss of cartilage, a narrowing of the joint,” said Dr. Fokin. “Basically, bone-on-bone arthritis in both shoulders.”

    The solution Carmen chose was patient-specific instrumentation for joint replacement. That meant two sets of computer-designed 3D replacement parts and computer-guided shoulder replacement surgery.

    “I’m like the bionic woman, now,” said Carmen. Most importantly, she’s back to her busy life of work and family with no pain.

    “I can even pick up my great-grandbaby,” she said with emotion. “Dr. Fokin gave me my life back.”

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: Carmen's shoulder replacement story      
  • thaddeus mcvi patient

    Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute Replacing Heart Valves without Open-Heart Surgery

    By the age of 12, Thaddeus Holmes had already endured four open-heart surgeries to address issues related to congenital heart disease. The Aventura resident was born with the left side of his heart smaller than his right, leading to a childhood filled with physical limitations, restrictions on exercise, and worry that heart and lung transplants might be required to survive.

    “I was afraid of another open-heart procedure,” said the now 29-year-old Holmes. “As an adult, you’re much more aware of a recovery period that could last months, the time that you’d be out of work, and the disruption of the life you lead.”

    But Holmes couldn’t outride his past, even though the avid cyclist gave it his best effort. When 15-20 mile bike rides he once did with ease became 1-2 mile struggles, he knew it was time to once again address his always tenuous cardiac health.

    Holmes trusted his care to the Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute (MCVI) and learned the pulmonary valve pediatric surgeons had repaired more than two decades ago was now blocking the flow of blood and leaking, leading to shortness of breath and chronic fatigue. Finding out the valve could be replaced, using catheter-based technology and a minimally-invasive approach that in the past would have required open-heart surgery, was just the news the tech professional needed to hear.

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: Thaddeus and Dr. Ligon      

    “Knowing I’d only be hospitalized for a day and would recover quickly at home put me in a good head space. It was a huge relief knowing I wouldn’t have to give up the things I loved to do,” said Holmes.

    “The technology is really peaking where we can help people like Thad that have struggled with complex heart disease,” said Ronald Ligon, MD, one of the MCVI interventional cardiologists that perform the percutaneous valve procedure that changed Holmes’ life. “In his case, we were able to enter the body through the leg vessels and replace the pulmonary valve with a transcatheter that is wider and allows more blood flow, but also has leaflets that prevent blood from leaking backward.”

    MCVI houses the only accredited adult congenital program in South Florida and specializes in non-invasive cardiac procedures. They can’t always correct problems without traditional surgery, but can often provide options patients didn’t know they had. “Our team of multidisciplinary specialists, using the latest technology, can improve the quality of life for congenital heart patients at whatever stage of life they’re at,” said Ligon.

    For Thaddeus Holmes, a cardiovascular system that’s working efficiently has meant a return to the bike and the discovery of a new passion. “I was able to hike up a mountain in North Carolina and really loved being part of nature. Now I’m planning a trip to Tennessee so I can get back out there.”


    Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute offers a full complement of services, including preventative, diagnostic, and treatment options tailored to each patient’s specific needs. It features an experienced team of board-certified cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, medical, and interventional cardiologists that are supported by knowledgeable staff and access to state-of-the-art equipment that help deliver the best possible outcomes. With its extraordinary medical expertise, advanced technology, and exacting quality guidelines, MCVI has earned a reputation for superior cardiovascular care. For more information, visit

  • leah carpenter

    Leah A. Carpenter Named Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer For Memorial Healthcare System

    Leah A. Carpenter, FACHE, a nurse and longtime healthcare administrator, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer at Memorial Healthcare System. In her new role, Ms. Carpenter will oversee operations at all six Memorial hospitals, including Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and major service lines, such as oncology, neurosciences, behavioral health, rehabilitation, global health, laboratory and pharmacy services.

    Most recently, Ms. Carpenter had been CEO at Memorial Hospital West, a position she previously held at Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial Hospital Pembroke. In all, she has spent nearly two decades in a variety of leadership roles within Memorial and 34 years overall in the healthcare industry.

    “With an unparalleled knowledge of healthcare systems and operations, Leah is exceptionally qualified to take on these new responsibilities,” said Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE, president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System. “As a nurse, she possesses a deep understanding of Memorial’s focus on patient and family-centered care and has been intimately involved with the clinical side of healthcare.”

    At Memorial Hospital West, Ms. Carpenter oversaw one of the region’s busiest hospitals and, during the height of the pandemic, one of the highest COVID-19 patient volumes in the state. It was during this time the CEO traded her suit for scrubs and assisted nurses on the front lines of care, strengthening the collaborative bonds between the hospital’s administrative and clinical teams.

    “My background and experiences have enabled me to form critical relationships throughout the healthcare system, understand opportunities, communicate goals, and motivate individuals to work toward a common agenda. The perspective I bring to the COO position will ensure stability as Memorial continues to grow and become a destination for all levels of care,” said Ms. Carpenter.

    A native of Newark and dual graduate of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Ms. Carpenter is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and holds memberships in the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the National Honor Society for Public Administrators. She has received local and national recognition for leadership, patient safety, quality, service excellence, and a commitment to community, where the Miramar resident and mother is active in numerous civic and charitable organizations.