Dr. Mark Bleiweis: Spirit of Gainesville nominee


Published: Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.

Winter of this year, my Brother-in-law called and asked us to come to his home. Upon arriving he and my sister-in-law described how the night before, my twelve-year-old nephew had complained of chest pains. They rushed him to Shands even though he had never had a problem before. Lucky they did. His heart was failing and it was determined that he would need a heart transplant. Just like that with no warning this little boy and his family had their whole world re-prioritized.

Facts

Category: Medicine

About Dr. Mark Bleiweis

Occupation: Director and Principle Cardiothoracic Surgeon

The first step was for him to receive a Berlin Heart, an artificial heart that would sustain him until a suitable donor became available. It was scheduled for a couple of days later. Unfortunately during the middle of that first night while me and another brother-in-law were holding vigil we learned that the surgery needed to happen immediately.

I waited with the father and tried to comfort him any way I could. But really what can be done in that situation.

We knew we were waiting on a specific doctor. We had been told that he was a world-class surgeon; perhaps one of the top two or three in the world at what he did.

After an hour of staring at that door a man walked through. I grabbed my brother-in-law\'s arm and said, \"That\'s him.\"

\"How do you know?\" He said.

\"Look how he walks. That man is a cardiovascular gunslinger, and I tell you what. Everything is going to be alright.\"

And it was. The whole process, three months plus in duration was better than can be explained or imagined. Dr. Mark Bleiweis talked us through each part of the process then personally supervised the preparation then personally performed the surgery for the Berlin Heart and eventually my nephew\'s donated heart.

Dr. Bleiweis is more than the most competent heart surgeon. He is compassionate beyond anything I ever believed a physician could be. An excellent communicator, his best attribute is his ability to listen.

We are very fortunate to have such a good man and brilliant surgeon living in our community.

Submitted by Danny Stevens

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