South Florida Hospital News
Friday February 26, 2021

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June 2019 - Volume 15 - Issue 12

Medical Director Brings Skills and ‘Heart’ to Palmetto

Expertise, Research, Empathy in Top Heart Surgeon
Antonio Laudito, M.D., recently appointed Medical Director of the Heart Institute at Palmetto General Hospital (PGH) stands out from the stereotypical caricature of skilled surgeons whose talents are on display in the OR but their passion for patient care remains hidden behind the surgical mask.
“If you talk with patients through your eyes, they will see you have your heart in your hands and they will have no hesitation putting their heart in yours, Dr. Laudito explained, “It is vital to be in touch with patients and their families to channel quality care,” he continued.
Having built his career from the East Coast to the West and in Italy, he has returned to Southern Florida because he was “deeply intrigued” with the vision of Ana Mederos, CEO PGH, to shape a multi-disciplinary expertise in heart care for a range of heart disease.
For more than a decade Palmetto General Hospital has pioneered advanced cardiac procedures in Southern Florida, where there is a high incidence of heart disease, particularly in a senior-dense population base. While Dr. Laudito’s credentials and accomplishments are certainly boast-worthy he is a humble man who subscribes to servant leadership. “I am excited to join a talented team of cardio-thoracic clinicians and work together to take steps that will accelerate this recognized program to the next tier of lifesaving heart care,” he commented.
“In my mind, there is no doubt that communication and shared mutual respect for collegial knowledge can make the sum of the parts greater than arithmetical calculations. I envision my role as a servant leader who is the glue among cardio-thoracic surgeons, cardiologists, echocardiography, pulmonary and thoracic experts, ER specialists and all ancillary staff to build a team where the patient never feels like a ping pong ball among clinicians. As a team we can investigate, debate and champion a care plan that provides the best potential for improved patient outcomes more effectively than as individuals,” he explained. “If I can provide the beat, we will all dance in rhythm.”
And while his strategy exudes infectious enthusiasm and open round-the-clock communication, he admits it involves significant time and effort. For a diverse team to improve patient outcomes, there must be a foundation of demonstrated clinical preparation, experience and knowledge on display.
A firm believer that actions speak louder than words, Dr. Laudito endeavors to lead by example and also encourages new ideas to challenge the status quo.
“When someone calls me I will respond … when someone has an alternate option I will listen, and conversely if I have a question or concern, I will ask directly and try to avidly absorb expert advice from colleagues for the benefit of our patients,” he pledged.
According to Dr. Laudito, probing discussions will strengthen clinical relationships and provide opportunities for all to excel. Quality patient outcomes may include minimally invasive surgery, traditional surgery, or non-surgical options and the ultimate decision will bubble up from individuals who feel recognized for their contributions and act together as a team.
Along with years of experience in the full range of cardiothoracic surgery and recognition by distinguished peer professional associations, Dr. Laudito has kept abreast of innovative trends toward minimally invasive surgery often recommended for higher risk patients whose heart disease has progressed or is complicated by other health ailments. He is skilled in minimally invasive surgical techniques for valve reconstructive surgery, bilateral mammary artery revascularization, atrial fibrillation ablation and transcatheter valve therapy.
However, he warns that heart surgeons need not be slaves to technological trends. A heart specialist needs to consider all options and then conduct safe, effective surgical or non-surgical interventions that are best for the individual patient, not just the current trend. Improved outcomes with fewer risks is the ultimate goal in a quality care plan.
Finally, while his career promises to be busy in the foreseeable future, his personal life will also be eventful. The 50-something year old bachelor is enhancing his home life with wedding plans in the near future.
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