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The patient sitting across from me is overwhelmed with fear.

I’m not surprised. After all, in a short period of time, Bob has been given not one but two life-threatening diagnoses.

You see, Bob, in his 50s, was recently diagnosed with melanoma. He needs surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as quickly as possible. But before treatment could begin the unthinkable happened.

While looking to see if the cancer had spread, Bob’s doctors found a large aneurysm in his abdomen. Left untreated it could rupture without warning, cause massive bleeding and likely take Bob’s life.

Bob urgently needs surgery to repair his aneurysm. But a major operation would delay his cancer treatment for 6 to 8 weeks. And Bob doesn’t have time to wait.

My name is Dr. Heather Cox and I’m a vascular surgeon at PRHC. I’ll never forget Bob’s fear and distress the first time he came to see me – or the hope that came into his eyes when I explained how I could help him.

With caring supporters by my side, I was able to perform a minimally-invasive surgical procedure called an endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). Thanks to PRHC Foundation donors, I had access to the state-of-the-art equipment I needed to fix Bob’s aneurysm in a way that wouldn’t delay his cancer treatment.

It’s amazing how far surgery has come. For example, EVAR has revolutionized the way we treat aneurysms. Instead of opening the abdominal cavity, I make a keyhole incision to deliver a stent graft into the patient’s abdomen. Once in place, I expand the metal struts to secure the graft and allow blood to flow.

EVAR allows me to treat a life-threatening problem with significantly lower risk to the patient. Other benefits include less pain, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery time. In Bob’s case, he was able to start cancer treatment 10 days after the procedure.

I came to PRHC two years ago because of the hospital’s focus on putting patients first. I know many of my colleagues in the OR feel the same way.

To put patients first, we rely on new technology and equipment to perform the leading-edge surgeries we were trained to do. Keeping pace with the latest surgical innovations is absolutely essential for PRHC to attract and retain talented surgeons.

As surgeons, we want to provide the best care to our patients. New innovation and technology is what allows us to treat more patients in a safer way with less complications and pain. Personally, I wouldn’t be at PRHC if the hospital didn’t offer the EVAR program or if I didn’t have access to new grafts or diagnostics like vascular ultrasound.

That’s why I’m so very thankful for donor support and trust in us. The generosity puts the best tools in our hands so we can take optimal care of loved ones.

Today, we need help to continue on the path of surgical innovation at PRHC this year. A gift will help fund innovative technology like an Integrated Video Management System that transforms the operating room into a multimedia hub for collaboration during surgery and for mentoring and teaching. It means more efficient, comfortable surgeries for patients, doctors and nurses.

A gift will also fund essential investments in our OR like new lights that provide an ideal depth of field and more shadow prevention to allow us to have the best possible view of the delicate work we do.

In short, support will help us invest in leading-edge technology so patients like Bob can find the gold standard of care they need right here in our community.

It will help ensure all of us at PRHC can continue to put our patients first in the OR and in every area of our hospital.

With my sincerest gratitude,

Dr. Heather Cox
Vascular Surgeon, PRHC