Top Doctors 2010

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Sarasota has a penchant for the very best. And our medical professionals, like our culture, cuisine and beaches, are second to none. From allergists to vascular surgeons, you’ll find not just one great Sarasota doctor per specialty, but many, along with outstanding hospitals and other medical facilities. This story features the standouts—an exclusive listing of […]


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Sarasota has a penchant for the very best. And our medical professionals, like our culture, cuisine and beaches, are second to none. From allergists to vascular surgeons, you’ll find not just one great Sarasota doctor per specialty, but many, along with outstanding hospitals and other medical facilities.

This story features the standouts—an exclusive listing of doctors who were nominated by their peers, then rigorously screened by national research firm Castle Connolly Medical, which scours the country every year to compile its reference annual, America’s Top Doctors. The doctors are chosen not just for their resumés and their records, but for their continued clinical prowess and their ever-important interpersonal skills. They are models of our medical community, and we applaud them.

We asked some of these doctors to share critical turning points in their career, the experiences and encounters that made them the physicians—and people—they are today. Those “Medical Milestones” range from a surgeon’s first attempt at revolutionary robotic surgery to the oncologist who learned from a courageous patient that sometimes it’s better to forgo painful treatments and die with your dignity intact. 

The researchers at Castle Connolly would be the first to agree that despite all the expertise that went into compiling this list, you are the most important expert when it comes to choosing the doctor who best suits your needs. Communication skills, character and the ability to inspire trust are essential but intangible attributes of top physicians. Start your search here, and don’t stop until you’ve found the best physician for you. It’s a relationship that can enrich—and even save—your life.

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a healthcare research and information company founded in 1991by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America’s top doctors and top hospitals. Castle Connolly’s established survey and research process, under the direction of an M.D., involves tens of thousands of top doctors and the medical leadership of leading hospitals.  

Castle Connolly’s physician-led team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select top doctors on both the national and regional levels. Using mail and telephone surveys, and electronic ballots, they ask physicians and the medical leadership of leading hospitals to identify highly skilled, exceptional doctors. Careful screening of doctors’ educational and professional experience is essential before final selection is made among those physicians most highly regarded by their peers. 

The result—we identify the top doctors in America and provide you, the consumer, with detailed information about their education, training and special expertise in our paperback guides, national and regional magazine “Top Doctors” features and online directories.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors

Physicians selected for inclusion in this magazine’s “Top Doctors” feature may also appear as Regional Top Doctors online at castleconnolly.com, or in one of Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors guides, such as America’s Top Doctors® or America’s Top Doctors® for Cancer.

 

$34.95 (paperback); available online at castleconnolly.com,
via toll-free 1-800-399-DOCS (3627) and at major national bookstore chains

Medical Milestone

Radiation oncologist Gray Swor learned when it’s time to stop further treatment from a young woman’s life-and-death struggle. 

Radiation oncologist Dr. Gray Swor of 21st Century Oncology is the daughter of a cardiologist and a bacteriologist. Growing up in a small Virginia town, she would stop by her father’s office on the way home from school, and from an early age was a hospital go-fer, an EKG technician and a patient transport. “It’s all I’ve ever known,” she says. “I never questioned that I would become a physician.”

Swor earned her medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School and did her radiation oncology residency at Duke University. She moved to Vanderbilt University as assistant professor of radiation oncology. There an encounter with a patient changed the way she approached her field.

“I saw a girl my age—30—a nonsmoker, very fit, engaged to be married, who had a horrible cancer that had spread everywhere,” she remembers. “In our heart of hearts, we knew there was no way she would survive, but we treated her very aggressively because of her young age and her will.

“Six months after she died, I ran into her mom. She told me, ‘If I had known there was no hope and she was going to suffer that much, I wouldn’t have pushed her to go through with the treatments.’ I learned there’s a stopping point. It’s hard for us as cancer specialists to say we can’t do anything else. But there’s a fine line: instilling hope but also dignity and preservation of the self.”

The hardest part of her job, Swor says, is “the peaks and valleys of emotions. In one day I’m telling somebody their cancer’s back and 15 minutes later I’m celebrating five years cancer-free with another patient.”

To stay centered, Swor tends a rose garden, and she recently took up the harp. “My end-of-the-year recital is coming up,” she says. “It will be me and some little girls.”

What keeps her inspired? “The resilience and bravery of every person I see,” she says. “They fight so hard; it makes me want to come to work every day. It changes how I live; I enjoy the simple things—a rose that I might grow—because it can change in an instant.”

—Ilene Denton

The List

Allergy & Immunology

Donna Jamieson

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

2650 Bahia Vista St., Ste. 304

Sarasota, FL 34239-2699

(941) 366-9711

 

Cardiovascular Disease

Michael Mollod

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Sarasota Heart Center

1921 Waldemere St., Ste. 512

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-8185

Coronary Artery Disease, Nuclear Cardiology, Echocardiography

Alberto Montalvo

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Blake Medical Center

Bradenton Cardiology Center

316 Manatee Ave. W.

Bradenton, FL 34205

(941) 748-2277

Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac Catheterization, Coronary Angioplasty/Stents

Daniel Pacifico

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 401

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-0060

Venice Regional Medical Center

600 Nokomis Ave. S., Ste. 101

Venice, FL 34285

(941) 485-8190

Interventional Cardiology

 

Colon & Rectal Surgery

Richard Golub

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Surgical Specialists
Intercoastal Medical Group

3333 Cattlemen Road., Ste. 206

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 341-0042

Colon & Rectal Cancer, Laparoscopic Surgery, Hemorrhoids

 

Dermatology

Alfred Hernandez

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1849 S. Osprey Ave.

Sarasota, FL 34239-3614

(941) 957-4767

Dermatologic Surgery, Mohs’ Surgery, Skin Cancer

Cathy Milam

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

7400 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34231

(941) 364-8220

Skin Cancer, Acne, Eczema

Susan Weinkle

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Memorial Hospital

5601 21st Ave. W., Ste. B

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 794-5432

Skin Cancer, Mohs’ Surgery, Cosmetic Dermatology

Joseph Yohn

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

IMG Dermatology

3333 Cattlemen Road, Ste. 106

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 379-1799

Skin Cancer, Acne, Psoriasis, Hair & Nail Disorders

 

Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

Jose Antunes

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

2400 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 365-0333

Diabetes, Cholesterol/Lipid Disorders, Thyroid Disorders

Jesus Perez

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

IMG Endocrinology

3333 Cattlemen Road, Ste. 104

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 379-1777

Thyroid Disorders, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Obesity

 

Family Medicine

Joseph Larkin

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

IMG-Palmer Ranch

8592 Potter Park Drive

Sarasota, FL 34238-5439

(941) 921-6618

Preventive Medicine

Barry Stein

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

6128 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34231-4029

(941) 923-5882

 

Gastroenterology

F. Scott Corbett

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Gastroenterology Assocs. of Sarasota

2089 Hawthorne St., Ste. 200

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 365-6556

Endoscopy, Pancreatic/Biliary Endoscopy (ERCP, Barrett’s Esophagus)

Elliot Livstone

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1515 S. Osprey Ave., Ste. C-11

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 955-0000

Esophageal Disorders, Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal Cancer, Barrett’s Esophagus

Bruce Trotman

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Blake Medical Center

5715 21st Ave. W.

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 761-1800

Biliary Disease, Hepatitis B & C, Colon & Rectal Cancer

 

Geriatric Medicine

Deven Dave

Venice Regional Medical Center

1720 E. Venice Ave.

Venice, FL 34292

(941) 483-9700

 

Gynecologic Oncology

James Fiorica

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1888 Hillview St.

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-8383

Gynecologic Cancer, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer

 

Infectious Disease

Eliot Godofsky

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Blake Medical Center

6010 Pointe West Blvd.

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 746-2711

Hepatitis C, Clinical Trials, Viral Hepatitis, HIV

James Knapp

Venice Regional Medical Center

Englewood Community Hospital

406 N. Indiana Ave., Ste. 9

Englewood, FL 34223-2713

(941) 475-3980

 

Internal Medicine

David Bittleman

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota Intercoastal Medical Group

3333 Cattlemen Road, Ste. 210

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 371-3337

Carlos Caballero

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1801 Arlington St., Ste. 2

Sarasota, FL 34239-3502

(941) 917-8365

Concierge Medicine

David Daiello

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota Intercoastal Medical Group

2881 Hyde Park St.

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-2460

Geriatric Medicine

Scott Elsbree

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

5831 Bee Ridge Road, Ste. 210

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 379-8481

Charles Hollen

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota Intercoastal Medical Group

3333 Cattleman Road, Ste. 208

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 379-5121

Robert Schulman

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

5831 Bee Ridge Road, Ste. 210

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 379-8481

 

Interventional Cardiology

Stephen Culp

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Heart Specialists of Sarasota

1852 Hillview St., Ste. 308

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-4250

James Fox

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 401

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-0060

Cardiac Catheterization

 

Maternal & Fetal Medicine

Washington Hill

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Manatee Memorial Hospital

First Physicians Group-Maternal Fetal Med

1888 Hillview St.

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-6260

Pregnancy-High Risk, Prenatal Diagnosis, Multiple Gestation

 

Medical Oncology

Richard Brown

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Florida Cancer Specialists

1970 Golf St.

Sarasota, FL 34236-6907

(941) 957-1000

James Rubinsak

Florida Cancer Specialists

Venice Regional Medical Center

836 Sunset Lake Blvd., Ste. 101

Venice, FL 34292

(941) 408-0500

Caryn Silver

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Florida Cancer Specialists

1970 Golf St.

Sarasota, FL 34236

(941) 957-1000

Breast Cancer

Robert Whorf

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Florida Cancer Specialists

2401 60th St. Court W.

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 792-1881

 

Neurological Surgery

John Cassidy

Venice Regional Medical Center

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

842 Sunset Lake Blvd., Ste. 302

Venice, FL 34292

(941) 484-3404

Brain Surgery, Spinal Surgery

Robert Knego

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

5831 Bee Ridge Road, Ste. 100

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 308-5700

Brain Tumors, Spinal Surgery

 

Neurology

Julio Cantero

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Intercoastal Medical Group

943 S. Beneva Road, Ste. 102

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 906-7155

Epilepsy, Sleep Medicine

Mauricio Concha

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Intercoastal Medical Group-Neurology

943 S. Beneva Road, Ste. 102

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 906-7155

Stroke/Cerebrovascular Disease

Donald Negroski

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors’ Hospital

1921 Waldemere St., Ste. 701

Sarasota, FL 34239-2913

(941) 487-2160

Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Migraine

 

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Gary Easterling

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

5741 Bee Ridge Road, Ste. 390

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 379-6331

Robotic Surgery

Michael Finazzo

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1921 Waldemere St., Ste. 307

Sarasota, FL 34239-2941

(941) 917-8565

Karen Liebert

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Gynecology – Blake Park

1850 59th St. W., Ste. B

Bradenton, FL 34209-2391

(941) 792-4993

Gynecology Only

G. Michael Swor

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1617 S. Tuttle Ave., Ste. 1A

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 330-8885

Gynecology Only, Robotic Surgery, Laparoscopic Surgery, Urogynecology

 

Ophthalmology

Liaquat Allarakhia

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Blake Medical Center

Bradenton Eye Clinic

4812 26th St. W.

Bradenton, FL 34207-1705

(941) 727-3937

Cataract Surgery-Lens Implant, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Dry Eye Syndrome

Thomas Schwartz

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1219 East Ave. S., Ste. 105

Sarasota, FL 34239-2351

(941) 957-4216

Cataract Surgery, Cornea & External Eye Disease

Harris Silverman

Blake Medical Center

Eye Associates

6002 Pointe West Blvd.

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 792-2020

Cataract Surgery/Lens Implant

 

Orthopaedic Surgery

John Hand

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1950 Arlington St., Ste. 111

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 921-2600

Hand Surgery

William Mehserle

Venice Regional Medical Center

1525 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 602

Venice, FL 34285

(941) 497-2663

Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement, Sports Medicine

Joseph Noah

Englewood Community Hospital

Venice Regional Medical Center

Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery

836 Sunset Lake Blvd., Ste. 205

Venice, FL 34292-2103

(941) 485-1505

Sports Medicine, Joint Replacement, Knee Replacement, Knee Injuries/ACL

Arthur Valadie

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Coastal Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

6015 Pointe West Blvd.

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 792-1404

Sports Medicine, Arthroscopic Surgery, Knee Reconstruction

 

Otolaryngology

Matthew Byers

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center
Intercoastal Medical Group-Otolaryngology

3333 Cattlemen Road, Ste. 204

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 379-1800

Trauma-Face, Nasal & Sinus Disorders, Nasal Surgery, Sleep Disorders/Apnea

Jack Wazen

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Silverstein Institute

1901 Floyd St.

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-9222

Skull Base Surgery, Meniere’s Disease, Acoustic Neuroma, Hearing & Balance Disorders

 

Pediatrics

Johnny Alvarez

Manatee Memorial Hospital

3908 Ninth Ave. W.

Bradenton, FL 34205-1704

(941) 747-3116

Immunizations

Helene Hubbard

Manatee Memorial Hospital

408 Manatee Ave. E., Ste. 1

Bradenton, FL 34208

(941) 922-5366

Developmental & Behavioral Disorders, Developmental Delay, Learning Disorders, Autism

Jack Rodman

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

First Physicians-Pediatrics/Internal Med

929 S Tamiami Trail, Ste. 101

Sarasota, FL 34229

(941) 917-4700

Internal Medicine, Pediatrics

Robert Weiss

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Pediatric Assocs.

1215 East Ave. S., Ste. 303

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-3000

Adolescent Medicine

 

Plastic Surgery

Christopher Adamson

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

5741 Bee Ridge Road, Ste. 510

Sarasota, FL 34233

(941) 343-9900

Breast Augmentation, Liposuction & Body Contouring, Cosmetic Surgery-Face

Marguerite Barnett

Venice Regional Medical Center

1715 Stickney Point Road

Sarasota, FL 34231

(941) 927-2447

Cosmetic Surgery-Face, Liposuction & Body Contouring, Cosmetic Surgery-Breast, Breast Reconstruction

David Mobley

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

2255 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-8897

Cosmetic Surgery-Face, Cosmetic Surgery-Breast, Liposuction & Body Contouring, Laser Surgery

Charles Rodriguez

Venice Regional Medical Center

Renaissance Plastic Surgery

321 Nokomis Ave. S.

Venice, FL 34285

(941) 488-7727

Breast Augmentation, Cosmetic Surgery-Breast, Liposuction & Body Contouring, Cosmetic Surgery-Face

James Schmidt

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

2255 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-8897

Facial Rejuvenation, Cosmetic Surgery-Breast, Liposuction & Body Contouring

John Strausser

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1900 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 955-9096

Cosmetic Surgery, Reconstructive Surgery, Cancer Surgery

 

Psychiatry

Robert Mignone

Gulf Coast Health Services

Venice, FL 34285

(941) 408-8988

Bipolar/Mood Disorders, Complementary Medicine

 

Pulmonary Disease

Glenn Adams

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1625 S. Osprey Ave.

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-8772

Sleep Disorders/Apnea, Restless Legs Syndrome, Narcolepsy

Kenneth Hurwitz

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Lung Assocs. of Sarasota

1895 Floyd St.

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 366-5864

Critical Care

Janine Mylett

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Memorial Hospital

The Lung Center

2210 61st St. W.

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 792-0611

Sleep Disorders/Apnea

 

Radiation Oncology

Stephen Patrice

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

3210 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 364-8887

Lung Cancer, Brain Tumors, Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Gray Swor

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

21st Century Oncology

3210 Fruitville Road

Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 364-8887

Breast Cancer

 

Rheumatology

Jeffrey Kaine

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Sarasota Arthritis Center

3500 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 365-0770

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus Nephritis, Lupus/SLE, Clinical Trials

Daniel Small

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Sarasota Arthritis Center

3500 S. Tamiami Trail

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 365-0770

Arthritis

 

Surgery

David Napoliello

Venice Regional Medical Center

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center

8340 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Ste. 101

Bradenton, FL 34202

(941) 388-9525

Minimally Invasive Surgery, Laparoscopic Surgery

Scott Stevens

Sarasota Memorial Hospital Intercoastal Medical Group

3333 Cattlemen Road, Ste. 206

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 341-0042

Laparoscopic Surgery, Obesity/Bariatric Surgery

Nanette Wendel

Blake Medical Center

Bradenton Surgical Assocs.

5601 21st Ave. W, Ste. D

Bradenton, FL 34209

(941) 748-1471

Laparoscopic Surgery

 

Thoracic Surgery

Martin Beggs

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Sarasota Cardio & Thoracic Surgery Assocs.

1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 301

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 952-1913

Robotic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Alessandro Golino

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Cardiac Surgery

623 39th St. W., Ste. 2

Bradenton, FL 34205-2457

(941) 744-2640

Mitral Valve Surgery, Carotid Artery Surgery

Richard Peterson

Blake Medical Center

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Manatee Cardiac Surgery

623 39th St. W., Ste. 2

Bradenton, FL 34205

(941) 744-2640

Heart Valve Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Atrial Fibrillation, Carotid Artery Surgery

Atiq Rehman

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 303

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-8791

Robotic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery, Heart Valve Surgery, Coronary Artery Surgery

 

Urology

A. Joseph Bilik

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Florida Urology Specialists

1 S. School Ave., Ste. 200

Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 309-7000

Robotic Surgery

Robert Carey

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Urology Treatment Center

1921 Waldemere St., Ste. 310

Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 917-8488

Robotic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Prostate Cancer, Kidney Cancer

Edward Herrman

Manatee Memorial Hospital

Blake Medical Center

200 Third Ave. W., Ste. 210

Bradenton, FL 34205

(941) 792-0340

Kidney Stones, Incontinence, Erectile Dysfunction, Minimally Invasive Surgery

Alan Treiman

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

1921 Waldemere St., Ste. 310

Sarasota, FL 34239-2941

(941) 917-8488

Prostate Cancer, Erectile Dysfunction, Bladder Cancer, Kidney Stones

 

Vascular Surgery

Michael Lepore

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

600 N. Cattlemen Road, Ste. 220

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 371-6565

Endovascular Surgery, Aneurysm-Aortic, Minimally Invasive Vascular Surgery, Angioplasty & Stent Placement

Russell Samson

Doctors Hospital – Sarasota

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

600 N. Cattlemen Road, Ste. 220

Sarasota, FL 34232

(941) 371-6565

Peripheral Vascular Disease,Vein Disorders

The doctors chosen for this—and for every magazine feature Castle Connolly
does—are a representative sample of the top doctors selected in this region.
For other Castle Connolly top doctors who may be available in the Sarasota Magazine area, readers are encouraged to search online at Castle Connolly’s Web site, castleconnolly.com, for a much fuller list of the outstanding physicians available to you. ❚

 

Medical Milestone

A two-year-old with a genetic disorder led internist and pediatrician Jack Rodman to provide care for many other disabled children. 

Dr. Jack Rodman aspired to become a pediatrician as early as third grade. “I had a speech impediment, and I was put into classrooms with children with special needs,” he remembers. “The struggles that these kids go through every day—it opened my eyes. That’s why I went into medicine.”

Now chief medical administration officer for Sarasota’s First Physicians Group, Rodman appreciates that as an internist and a pediatrician, he can develop long-term relationships with his patients and their families. One relationship that has affected him deeply, both as a doctor and a person, began 13 years ago, when he first met Sammy Lomas.

As a two-year-old with an extremely rare genetic disorder called 22q13 Deletion Syndrome, Sammy was unable to walk, talk or even eat. “They were feeding him with a g-tube while he slept, so he would gain weight,” Rodman remembers. The disorder, which is also called Phelan McDermid Syndrome, affects fewer than 10 in 10 million births.

Sammy’s parents had struggled to find a local pediatrician for their only son, but Rodman welcomed the new patient. “You realize that what the family wants you to do is just treat him like a human being,” he explains. The amiable, self-effacing doctor began guiding Sammy and his parents through numerous specialists and years of extensive treatments—including major orthopedic surgery. “They’ve got my home number,” he says. “They know I’m there when they need me.”

Word of Rodman’s dedication spread through Venice’s Oak Park School, a special needs center where Sammy is still a student. Rodman, just as he was inspired to do in grade school, developed a niche providing care for disabled children.

More than a decade later, Sammy can now walk and communicate nonverbally and no longer relies on a feeding tube. But Rodman says he’s inspired not just by Sammy, but by his parents, who champion the fight against their son’s disease—notably through Sammy’s Run, a 5K in which Sammy’s father, an avid runner, pushes his son in a specially made stroller. Rodman and his children also participate in the race.

“It’s why I love my field,” says Rodman, who admits he gets goose bumps when he tells Sammy’s story. “There’s a relationship built into the care.” —Hannah Wallace

 

Medical Milestone

Diagnosing a woman with a rare thyroid disorder steered Dr. Jesus Perez into the challenging field of endocrinology.

For Dr. Jesus Perez, who’s been with Sarasota’s Intercoastal Medical Group almost seven years, entering medicine came naturally. His father was a doctor, and Perez grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps. “But I didn’t really understand everything he did until I was in college and I joined him at work for a time, in a rural area of the Dominican Republic,” says Perez. That was an eye opener.

“He was not only the chief surgeon and director of the hospital, he did everything, including his own anesthesia,” remembers Perez. “He could go from doing a C-section to taking care of an infected appendix to fixing bones, and in a rough environment. When he was out in public, he could not walk two or three meters without being stopped by someone who wanted to thank him. I realized the human impact this profession could have, more than any other.”

But it wasn’t until Perez was a first-year intern at a hospital in Connecticut that he decided the specialty he would embrace: endocrinology. “A middle-aged woman was gravely ill with some type of infection,” he recalls. “I saw she had a very large thyroid gland, or goiter. I recommended a CAT scan-guided biopsy”—a test of her thyroid that senior attendants didn’t believe necessary.

The scan confirmed that the woman had a thyroid abscess, a life-threatening infection almost unheard of outside of Third World countries. Underlying that, she had hyperthyroidism, explaining the enlarged gland.

“We were able to take care of her with aggressive antibiotics, and within 48 hours she was drastically improved,” says Perez. “Beyond the abscess, this was a chronic condition that was manageable. I realized that I wanted to know more about endocrinology, because I liked the problem-solving aspect of it and because it’s a specialty where you as a doctor can grow old with your patients, unlike, say, oncology. Intellectually, it’s a very challenging field. And once you’re able to make a diagnosis, you’re able to help your patient have a good quality of life for many years.” —Kay Kipling

 

Medical Milestone

Dr. Robert Carey remembers the prostate cancer patient who volunteered for Carey’s first-ever da Vinci robotic surgery.

Dr. Robert Carey is something of an anomaly in the medical profession. A board-certified urologic surgeon, he also holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from M.I.T. and has been working with technology his whole life. In 2006, as one of the few surgeons statewide to master the state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic surgery system, Carey was recruited by Sarasota Memorial Hospital to offer the high-tech, laparoscopic prostate cancer treatment locally. While the robotics system has shaped his career, the doctor remains most inspired by the people he treats—especially the patient who volunteered for Carey’s first-ever da Vinci surgery.

“I was fortunate to have access at the University of Miami to one of the first [da Vinci] systems that came out,” Carey remembers. “I spent extraordinary time in the lab carefully learning how to tie surgical knots, how to do surgical dissections, how to apply the robot to a specific operation for prostate cancer. It was years of my personal development with that system before I ever operated on a human.”

Carey remembers that first surgery “like it was yesterday,” he says. “I remember the courage of that patient. It was a local doctor with high-grade, high-risk cancer; he trusted me. And, he said, ‘Probably no one else wants to be first.’”

The surgeon’s attitude going in? Cautious optimism. “If you didn’t think you were going to do a better job [than traditional surgery], you wouldn’t be doing it,” he says. “But it’s sort of like when you send a man to the moon: You can prepare in Houston and Cape Canaveral all you want, but the astronaut’s perspective is going to be unique.”

The procedure was a definitive success, removing the cancerous prostate with less blood loss and a much faster recovery than traditional surgery. “By the time I finished, I knew I would never go back to open surgery,” says Carey. “A new era of surgery was upon us.”

The patient was able to leave the hospital the next day. Seven years later, Carey still keeps in touch with him.

“The fact that another physician volunteered to be the first case, it shows you something of humanity,” says Carey. “This was someone who truly knew what a big deal this was.” —Hannah Wallace










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