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Despite the obstacles she has faced throughout her life, Joanna Blundell is only looking forward.

“I don’t have time to look backward,” said Blundell, a 57-year-old resident of Ore City. “I always try to be positive and move forward.”

Diagnosed at age two with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture, Blundell speaks highly of the doctors who have cared for her. “I have been blessed to receive care from some of the best doctors,” she said.

“I was admitted to the hospital in Galveston and had my...

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As document control administrator for UT Health East Texas, Steven Rhame’s interaction with the health system focuses largely on paperwork, trying to ensure the entire market — all 10 hospitals and 90-plus clinics — are adhering to the same policies.

When Rhame’s 10-year-old son, Ransom, recently landed in the hospital following a tonsillectomy, he saw a different side of the health system, one which touched his heart.

“It makes me proud to know that this is my hospital and my coworkers,” Rhame said. 

Rhame said after Ransom experienced some bleeding following a...

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Steven Hickman recently finished his shift excited about his birthday dinner with his mom that night, only to realize his moped had been stolen. What was supposed to be a great day soon turned into the beginning of a dark few weeks for Steven, who works in environmental services at UT Health Tyler. 

Despite the despair and anxiety he felt losing his only means of transportation, he found a way to make it to work, walking to and from work in the scorching heat, often refusing ride offers from coworkers and supervisors. 

 “I don’t like asking for help, so this has been the...

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As neurosurgeon Paul Detwiler, MD, stood behind the patient, having just inserted an electrode in his brain, neurologist George Plotkin, PhD, MD, told the patient he was going to hand him a cup of coffee to hold. 

The patient, who had suffered from essential tremors so intense he hadn’t been able to sign his name in years, objected. 

“He said, ‘I wouldn’t do that, I can’t hold a mug of coffee,’ but Plotkin handed it to him and there was no movement at all. I’m watching the patient and he can’t believe it,” Dr. Detwiler said. “He had a phenomenal response.”


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Quitman, Texas (July 21, 2023) —  UT Health Quitman has received two American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines achievement awards for demonstrating commitment to following up-to-date, research-based guidelines for the treatment of heart disease and stroke, ultimately leading to more lives saved, shorter recovery times and fewer readmissions to the hospital.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke or heart attack, and heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the United States, respectively. Studies show patients can...

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Younger brother gets second chance to live a healthier, longer life

Preventable, early deaths have happened too many times in Louis Ashley’s family.

“I’ve lost three of my four brothers,” said Ashley, a 51-year-old fluids engineer with a Texas oil company. “One drank himself to death, another died by suicide and one died in a car wreck. I suppose I’m the one who can change his lifestyle before it’s too late.”

Though he and his love Juliet live in Louisiana, Ashley has worked in Texas for 15 years on a 14 days on, 14 days off schedule. He designs the hydraulics and fluid systems that the company uses to pull oil out of the ground.


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Like many women, Laura Phillips tended to treat her own health needs as an afterthought, often ignoring her primary care physician’s recommendation to get an annual mammogram. 

“He’s been on me every year about it, and I usually blow it off, but this year I did it,” Phillips said. “I don’t know, this time to appease him I went on and did it.”

Phillips had her mammogram at UT Health Athens, near her home south of Malakoff. Initial results indicated there was a mass, so she went for further testing at UT Health Tyler. She was terrified, especially about the biopsy.


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Tyler, Texas (July 17, 2023) —  UT Health Tyler has received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke GoldPlus quality achievement award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or...

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In honor of Black Nurses Week July 27 – 31, we are featuring team member stories to highlight the contributions of Black nurses in the communities we serve.

LaMetriss Dewberry knew from a young age she would end up in healthcare because of her love of helping people. 

Born and raised in Tyler, she attended Griffin Elementary School, Dogan Middle School and graduated from John Tyler High School before attending Tyler Junior College to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).

“When I started I was a nurse in the float pool, meaning I had the opportunity to...

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Carthage, Texas (June 23, 2023) — UT Health East Texas EMS will expand services to cover Panola County starting June 28. 

The Panola County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the contract Tuesday, meaning UT Health EMS will now provide ground ambulance and helicopter service to six East Texas counties covering more than 4,600 square miles. 

“With more than 50 ambulances, three active helicopters and one helicopter in reserve that are strategically located across the region, our emergency teams are equipped to provide rapid access to care across East...

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