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Story

At 77 years old, Janice McMakin wasn’t sure she would be able to handle open-heart surgery when she found out she needed her mitral valve replaced for a second time. Luckily, the cardiothoracic surgery team at the UT Health East Texas Cardiovascular Institute in Tyler had a new procedure in mind for her: the transcatheter mitral valve replacement.

In 2014, McMakin had her mitral valve...

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After recently spending 10 days at UT Health Tyler, Jim Simon had a new appreciation for the dedicated team of health professionals who work at the hospital on a daily basis.

Wondering how he could give back to those who took care of him, Jim turned to what he knows best – tacos.

Jim, managing partner of Torchy's Tacos in Tyler, hand-delivered fresh tacos to caregivers Thursday as a way to say thanks. It was the second delivery he's brought to caregivers since being released a few weeks ago.

"I wanted to do it again as a goodwill gesture," Simon said. "Those people...

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When caregivers at UT Health Athens decided to adopt a senior student to shower with gifts, they had no idea they'd be giving back to one of their own.

UT Health Athens Emergency Department Director Lynett Anderson's own son is a senior in high school so she was aware of a social media campaign to "adopt" area seniors since they weren't able to have a normal senior year. The program's goal was to give them gifts or cards to make them feel special.

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In March 2019, Meri Mullicane got the news that her sister, Maeschelle, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Meri sent her a pink bear with a note that said, “I know I don’t understand your journey, but everybody needs something to cry on.” Unfortunately, Meri would soon understand her sister’s journey all too well.

Meri went in for her annual mammogram in May, which showed no abnormality. However, because Meri had dense breast tissue, it was recommended that she come back for a screening ultrasound. Dr. Michael Klouda, board-certified diagnostic radiologist at the UT Health Tyler...

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John Vaughn is back on the police force 15 years after suffering a heart attack on duty that forced him into early retirement.

“That retirement was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Vaughn said. “But, I was more of a danger to the men I worked with and the public as an officer. That’s when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t want to hurt somebody.”

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One local family found a way to stay connected while their daughter was treated at UT Health Tyler.

While his 2-year-old daughter was being treated at the hospital, Ben would stand outside the front of the hospital and talk to her while she waved down from the window above.

The hospital is limiting visitors due to COVID-19, and pediatric patients are allowed to have one family member stay with them. Mom Christy decided to stay at the hospital, so Ben returned home to care for the couple’s two sons.

They realized...

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Heartache often is a part of life. Brent and Donna Holt of Palestine have experienced heartaches, but not the kind you might think. Both have experienced heart valve disease, but like many loving couples, they pulled together to conquer it.

Brent’s journey started in February 2018 when he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic...

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Mistie Williams, a healthy, 42-year-old wife and mother of two, was at her parents’ home in Gun Barrel City with her family and friends on Aug. 31. It was her daughter’s first weekend home from college, and they were enjoying their Labor Day weekend together. Without warning, everything changed.

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Congratulations to Chris Fugate on being named the UT Health East Texas EMS | AIR 1 Caregiver of the Month! Chris was nominated by his coworkers because of his devotion to helping people.

Chris’s nomination read:

“Chris Fugate works as a swing medic in all of our service regions. Chris, along with Vanessa Sanches, was assigned to a diabetic call. Afterwards, the patient called to thank UT Health EMS for the compassionate and professional employees we had working for us. He spoke of his Chris’ approach quickly placed him at ease and gained his trust. This allowed Chris to...

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Lee Tidnall is a UT Health East Texas EMS Transport driver and the recipient of the UT Health EMS | AIR 1 Caregiver of the Month Award for June for his commitment to people and community. Thank you for all you do for UT Health East Texas EMS, Lee.

 
Lee’s nomination read:
 
“Lee caught up to us to trade out trucks. As we were moving equipment, Lee noticed a young man that had a flat on his car. The young man told Lee he was unable to get it fixed. The man also was attempting to sell a tire iron for a few dollars for fuel to make it home. Lee...
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