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Patient Testimonials

Patient Testimonials

The following are commentaries, testimonials and letters of thanks from our patients and members of the community. All have graciously shared their stories of how Florida Hospital Waterman has personally affected them. We are grateful to all of them for taking the time to express their thoughts, their feelings and their thanks.

If you'd like to share your story, please send us a note.

Lydia Byars

When I read that Florida Hospital Waterman had been named one of the 25 most beautiful hospitals in the world, I agreed that it is a beautiful hospital. And yet, when I need medical attention, "Is it beautiful?" doesn't come into play. I was more impressed with the personnel’s loving attention. It really stood out as positive, helpful and caring.

Janice and Parks Messick

We received a patient survey today regarding my husband’s recent hospitalization. Thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings with you. We have reflected over our experience many times over the past few weeks. The survey just didn’t seem to be enough to fully express our appreciation for the excellent care we received.

I want to let you know how impressed I was, both personally and professionally, with our hospital. I have been a nurse for 20 years and have been employed at Florida Hospital Waterman for nine years as a pediatric nurse in the Women and Children Services Department. The hospital’s mission statement is important to me, and I strive to serve our hospital by the standards set forth.

On Feb. 8, 2012, I heard the words that no one is ready to hear: “Mom, Dad’s having a heart attack, let me take you to the hospital.” As I was dropped off at the entrance of the Emergency Room door, I was met with open arms by Fran Mitchell, triage RN, who briefly let me know that some of my other family members were in the waiting room as she quickly ushered me to my husband’s side. As I saw my husband lying there in distress, I began to take in the teamwork of an excellent ER staff, who worked quickly and efficiently to ensure the most precise and expedient care possible. I received compassionate encouragement, and I observed competent nurses and doctors quickly obtaining and verifying the care that he was receiving. Being familiar and acquainted with some of the ER staff, it was a great comfort to me to see Dr. Young and charge nurses James Reese and Amy Amedeo overseeing his care. Amy and Fran kept us updated on his progress while he was in the heart catheter lab.

The staff in the cath lab, as well as Dr. Mills, gave us very thorough and concise information on his progress and procedure. We again were treated with great compassion and care. The following morning, the RN charge nurse from the cath lab came to see my husband and to check the site of the catheterization. My husband commented to her that he remembers hearing her voice and feeling confident that she was “in change, and knew exactly what she was doing as she directed other staff members.” I do not remember her name, but I do remember that she was expecting a baby. I hope if she chooses to deliver in our department that I can ensure that she receives the same care.

Our stay in the CCU unit was absolutely wonderful. I would like to give a special thank you to Gayle Shaeffer. She was sitting at the front desk and did an absolutely outstanding job of welcoming us to the unit, explaining unit specifics to us, encouraging me to get my rest and nutrition, and shielding us from the many visitors and well-wishers from our community and church families, allowing my husband the rest that he needed.

The nurses who took care of my husband on the unit were very concerned and compassionate, and listened to our specific concerns and addressed our needs quickly. Our thanks to Rose and Christina, RNs, who were very special to us.

During our stay at the hospital we were visited by the paramedic/firefighter who was the first responder to arrive to assist my husband, rode into the hospital with him, and delivered the necessary and competent care that literally saved my husband’s life. It was no surprise to me to find out that Jack Garafano also works for Florida Hospital Waterman.

Pastoral Care and the prayers that were led on our behalf meant the world to us. One morning Faye Rose came to lead a devotional thought and prayer to the staff, and the nurse asked me if I would like to join them. Standing there with the staff delivering care to my husband for a brief moment of prayer reassured me of who is ultimately in charge of life, and was a very special moment.

My husband is home now and doing very well. Because of the care he received, and the grace of an almighty God, he is expected to make a very healthy recovery. I have been deeply touched and inspired by "my hospital," and hope to take this experience as a model for the care that I continue to deliver to my patients.

Thank you again for all you do and for serving the needs of our community in such a special way.

Selvin George Hines Jr.

I am an unemployed marine boat mechanic with no health insurance and no unemployment benefits. Despite my current financial situation, Florida Hospital Waterman treated me in a fair and equitable manner—as a patient who was in need of a life-saving surgery and not merely a person with a new medical record number. The doctors and nurses embraced me with open arms and gave me quality care from start to finish without focusing on my lack of financial resources. Please know that Florida Hospital Waterman will always hold a special place in my heart, and that I am deeply indebted to everyone on staff who was involved with saving my life.

With tremendous thanks and praise for God’s infinite blessings,
Yours truly,
Selvin George Hines Jr.

Charles R. Mojock, EdD

As I begin my second week back at work, I am beginning to get caught up enough to send these belated but heartfelt thanks to you and your team for the outstanding care I received while at Florida Hospital Waterman. As you know, I came in for a “routine procedure” that ended up being anything but routine! When I began experiencing unusual symptoms, your team was right there and rushed me to the Emergency Department. Their rapid and professional response ensured that I was in good hands, while one of your nurses took the time to sit with my wife, Cathy, to help her understand each step in the process and answer her questions. This truly gave her peace of mind and kept her spirits up.

From the ER, I was sent to ICU, where highly capable and caring health professionals made my visit as pleasant as possible. The next day I was transferred to the regular PCU. While staffing ratios are not what you have in the ICU, I found no difference in the quality of your staff or their commitment to caring for patients. So in my brief two-day stay I certainly saw a lot of your fine hospital, and I have nothing but the highest praise for everyone.

I regret that I don’t have the names of all the outstanding team members I encountered, but I hope you can convey my deep appreciation and best wishes to each of them. We are blessed to have you and FHW in our community!

Olivia Johnson

It is with pleasure that I want to recognize an extraordinary employee of Florida Hospital Waterman. Her name is Barbara Conklin. Barbara and I met several weeks ago as I was waiting for my husband while he was having a procedure. She helped me find my way from the lobby to the cafeteria, and then proceeded to buy me a cup of coffee while I waited for my husband. She was such an encouragement, as I was somewhat apprehensive from the events of the day. I think what touched me most was that, before she prepared to leave for her office, she asked if she could pray with me. It was nice to experience firsthand the compassion and empathy that someone can have for you.

Paul Leonard, Bo Leonard and Tina Dawson

On Oct. 7 my family and I entered the ER with my mother, Becky Leonard. Our visit and subsequent admittance to the hospital would forever change the fabric of the life of my family.

My mother had been battling COPD for many years, and has been under the care of two of the best physicians that any family could ask for, Dr. Rosemary Cirelli and Dr. Steven Tang.

On Friday we arrived at the ER with my mother, and on Monday, Oct. 10, we left the hospital one parent short. My mother passed quietly away mid-morning in the ICU. I must admit that my family and I did not suspect that we would be experiencing her passing. We knew it would happen one day, but not that weekend—and certainly not on my 50th birthday.

My family and I would like to take a moment and tell you of the compassion and care that my mother received during the final days of her life. I do apologize that we cannot remember any of the ER staff, but I assure you that they were terrific.

On the 7th, my mother was transferred from the ER to the fifth floor. When my father and I walked into my mother’s room on the 8th with my 11-year-old boy, we thought we would find my mother demanding to be taken home. This was not the case. At this point I began to suspect that we were in serious trouble. Fortunately my mother still had presence of mind and was able to recognize us for a few brief moments before it seemed as though she slipped away from us right before our eyes. I am forever grateful for those moments, and grateful to the two ladies, Carol and Carmen, who took such care of my parent.

Dr. Chang arrived—and I cannot begin to express to you how totally awesome he was. He had not-so-good news to share. My mother was sicker than she appeared. He gave us advice, suggested a course of treatment, and helped us through language that was unfamiliar and frankly downright frightening. It was Dr. Chang that would have my mama admitted to ICU. Carol and Carmen on the fifth floor never treated my Mother with anything but the utmost respect, gentleness and compassion. Please tell Carmen that we have smiled time and time again over the “Strawberry Basket.” Carmen hugged me so tightly when we left the fifth floor for ICU, and she and Carol made all the difference in the world as we made our way to what would become the final destination for my mama. Perhaps they knew what we would soon experience.

At ICU from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning, we were fortunate to be under the care of three fabulous ladies, and I would like for them to be recognized for their efforts and work. First, Amanda. She cared for my mama with love, gentleness and kindness—sweetie, she called my mama, and patted her hands and shoulders and encouraged my mama to be easy. I watched her bathe my parent with all the care that a mother would give her own child. Amanda seemed to treat my mother not as a patient but a dear loved one with a family who was growing more concerned with each passing moment. It seemed impossible that my mother could be in such a poor state of being.

Secondly, Danielle, who helped ease my mama’s pain in the evening when we could no longer be by her side. She did her best to let me sit quietly with my mother for a few moments on Monday morning before ICU visiting hours. You see, I couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to be next to my mama—she never liked to be alone. I was quite anxious not to leave her, but Danielle assured me that she would inform the doctors that we were anxiously waiting to hear about the next steps in my mother's treatment. As Danielle left her shift that morning, she was kind enough to inform us that all the doctors were present and that they would be out in just a bit to speak to us.

Lastly—an angel in hospital scrubs—Cindy. My tears are overflowing onto the keyboard as I share this last piece with you. 

I had a great dread that day—something didn’t seem quite right. My dad was hoping for a recovery in a day or two, but call it a woman’s intuition, I didn't think she would come home the way we wanted her to—whole and happy.

When Dr. Cirelli stepped into the waiting area we really didn’t expect for her to share the news that she had to share. We really thought that it was truly possible that we were going to be able to take my mama home once again to heal on up. This was not to be the case. Dr. Cirelli’s face made me pause, and I saw that she was hurting for us. She spoke to us with gentleness and frankness, and while my heart was bleeding I knew too that Dr. Cirelli’s heart was hurting as well. Over the years Dr. Cirelli treated my mother to the best of her ability and gave us time that we might never have had—she just wanted to be able to give us more time, but it was no longer in her hands.

On the 10th my family and I had to make decisions that we were not expecting. I watched my daddy age before my eyes—he was about to lose his wife, and my brother and I were to lose our mother. How to explain to our children when we didn’t understand ourselves? But my mama was hurting and needed to go onto a life that we knew existed for her with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dr. Cirelli gave the final orders according to our wishes and made arrangements for us to enter ICU and spend the last few hours with my mother. That’s when we met Cindy. She came to get us with such compassion on her face, and the tone of her voice was gentle. We followed blindly, but Cindy did all that she could to make it as easy as possible—if anything like that could be easy. She asked who was coming so that she could be certain they would arrive, she brought in extra chairs, she brought in ice water, she swabbed my mama's mouth. She patted her and treated her unlike anything I had ever experienced. She paid attention to every detail—made my mother as comfortable as she could be, treated her as though she wasn’t about to take her last breath, but simply to journey on. I can’t even describe all of it to you.

She made sure that my mother received all that Dr. Tang had ordered and patted and petted my Mama.  She offered to answer questions, to get us anything we needed, and suddenly before I knew what was happening my mama left this life. Over the past few days I have gone over and over in my mind and still have no idea how she could have left us so quickly—no goodbye, no final I love you, just quietly passed from this life to the next.

Cindy unobtrusively turned everything off and left us to grieve for as long as we needed to. She was such a quiet but strong presence, and we are so grateful that our Mother's last moments were under the care of this woman. Please don’t think that she was just doing her job. It was more than that. Our family wants to recognize her and the others mentioned in this letter, and for them to know that we know they did all that they could and that we are grateful beyond comprehension that the last moments of my mother’s life were the best that they could offer.

I know that they all grieved with us—how could they not? We are plain and simple folks, but folks who love with all their hearts. My brother and I miss our mama, our children their Nannie, my daddy misses his wife, my uncle his sister. Cindy witnessed it all, and not once did I see any dread on her face, simply love and compassion for a family that was hurting.

My family and I left the ER abruptly—I don't even recall saying thank you, I just remember looking back through the door of my mother's room and seeing my precious loved one at rest. The rest is simply a blur. Please, please thank them for us.

My mother gave with all her heart everything that she had to any who came to our front door. She loved us through her cooking, and at her funeral service our family included one of my mama's favorite recipes in the service card. I share these with you and hope that you will do us the courtesy of passing these cards along to the women mentioned here. 

My mama was a kind human being who loved unconditionally, and these ladies made sure my mama felt their love and enabled her to keep her dignity up to the time that she went to join the other members of our family already in heaven.

She would simply tell me that I better use my manners and make sure that I gave thanks where thanks were due. Therefore, the Leonard family expresses our deepest thanks and gratitude beyond measure to these women and for your time and recognition of these wonderful people. 

Miss Beck’s Corn Fritters

Our mother took great delight in making these fritter for her favorite kids, especially a little red-haired one. It is our hope that you make these for your own family and think of our mama when you take that first bite! With love from Paul, Bo, Tina and of course Becky!

1  8¾-ounce can whole kernel corn
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 beaten egg
A dash of love from the best mama ever! 
Shortening or cooking oil for deep fat frying
Confectioner’s sugar
Lunch size paper bag

Drain corn, reserving liquid. Add enough milk to reserved corn liquid to make 1 cup. In a mixing bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Add corn, milk mixture and beaten egg. Stir till just moistened. Drop batter by tablespoons, four or five at a time, into deep hot fat (375). Cook for three to four minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. In a paper bag place about 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Drop in warm fritters, two or three at a time, and shake gently, remove from bag and place on a platter and serve them up!

Jeanne Grill

Anton, the exchange student we are hosting from Spain, was experiencing flu symptoms that weren’t getting better.  We brought him to your emergency room at 12:30 p.m., and we were greeted immediately and taken to an exam room within 10 minutes. The physician was fantastic—and cautious enough to order an ultrasound, which led to a CT scan. The CT confirmed appendicitis, and Dr. Bjerken was consulted for surgery. Anton was in the operating room by 6:15 p.m., and his hospital room by 9 p.m. I was amazed that his care and treatment were handled so competently and quickly.  I personally want to recognize the doctors in the emergency room, Dr. Watson (the radiologist), the radiology technicians, Dr. Lesmes (the most fluent Spanish speaker and caring doctor I know), Dr. Bjerken and Nurse Cindy. All were compassionate, caring and knowledgeable.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! I give you an A++!

Dean Simmons

We came to the emergency room at Florida Hospital Waterman when my son was stung by a wasp and had an allergic reaction. Please give our special thanks to April Kauffman and Meghan Casto, RN, who helped us that day. April stayed with us during our visit, and Meghan took care of my son and our family. I am proud to serve on the Foundation Board, and proud of the people that make up Florida Hospital Waterman. Employees like Meghan and April are the future of the hospital.

Stephen Setzer

When I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1995 I was extremely concerned, but in the back of my mind I knew I had health insurance that would help with the costs down the road as it progressed. A few years after that my health insurance premiums had risen to a point where I could no longer afford them, and I was forced to drop my policy. I was a self-pay patient from that point on.

Most doctors and their staffs were very understanding when I explained my situation to them. However, to my surprise, there were a few who would not see me at all because I didn’t have health insurance.

It was a real blessing to discover the Community Primary Clinic and to be accepted for care. At that point I was spending hundreds of dollars a month on medications for a variety of illnesses. When I went in for my first appointment, not only was everyone very nice and welcoming to me, but I was surprised to learn they would help me enroll in patient assistance programs sponsored by the drug companies that made the medications I took. This was something other doctors I saw wouldn’t do.

I had been very lucky that I hadn’t had any of the usual symptoms that accompany hep C.  However, the doctors and nurse practitioners at the clinic made sure I had the necessary tests performed to monitor it in case that changed. This was something I couldn’t afford to do on my own. Thankfully, my disease is still under control, but the clinic has given me the peace of mind of knowing I have a place to turn to if things change.

I’m very grateful for everything the clinic has done for me, and I hope this letter will, in some small way, help promote the great service everyone there provides. There are some elected officials who don’t think this is money well spent, and it should be discontinued. I’m sure they have excellent health coverage and have never had to experience what it’s like to secure health care without it.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Georgia Borho

I am taking this opportunity to thank Waterman Hospital for the wonderful, compassionate care I received during my most recent confinement. From the moment I was brought into the ER, via ambulance, on Sat., Sept. 24, 2011, at 10 a.m., and cared for by Nurse Connie, aides, volunteers and Dr. Capellan, and my ensuing admittance to the hospital on 4 South, Room 409, the nurses, Miriam and Jennifer; and the techs, Teresa, Brandi and Maria, provided the utmost care and attendance. Everyone was attentive, caring and smiling all the time. 

I had wonderful care while a patient with a broken hip in December 2011 also. The care I received for the three days in September 2011 was superb. I have been hospitalized many times over the course of many years, and in many hospitals. But I assure you the care I received during this latest confinement was the best. Again I wish to thank everyone of the Florida Hospital Waterman family for this care. I am now a patient at Waterman Outpatient Rehabilitation and again the entire staff of this rehab is great.

James W. Tweeddale, Ph.D.

I would like to express my most sincere gratitude for the professional care given to my mother-in-law during her recent stay at Waterman. Her 92nd birthday was last Sunday, Aug. 21. She has a somewhat advanced case of dementia. She was admitted to Waterman through the emergency room with pneumonia. She is confused, disoriented and at times combative. She was released from the hospital today.

During her stay at Waterman one person stood out as a truly exceptional and competent professional caregiver. This person is Lorinda Payne, RN. My wife and I spent a lot of time with Mother during the past week, never knowing whether she would get better or not. Not only was Lorinda an exceptional nurse, she has a demeanor and bearing which are a credit to your hospital and her profession. I pass my commendation along and trust that this expression of appreciation finds its way to Lorinda.

Mrs. Caryle-Linda Rosenblatt

I was a patient at Waterman Hospital from Febr. 15, 2011, to Feb. 22, 2011, in room 506.  I can only say that my care was excellent, both physically and spiritually. There wasn’t even one thing I might say that I had been unhappy about. Everything the hospital did, including the layout of the hospital, was designed to facilitate healing the patient in the best possible manner. Everyone was polite, informative, helpful and cheerful. There was always someone to immediately assist me when I needed help. The food was excellent, and the chaplain ministered in a meaningful fashion.

Waterman Hospital is my family’s hospital of choice. The manner in which I was cared for during my unexpected and unplanned stay reinforced our opinion. No hospital or any institution can maintain this level of service and standards without good leadership at the top.

I thank all of you for the wonderful care I received, especially the staff that took such good care of me when I was hospitalized.

Valerie Bivins

I am writing to inform you of the wonderful care and service I have been receiving from not only the various employees at Waterman Hospital, but especially in the Cancer Center. You see, I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in June of last year. I was a patient in Florida Hospital Waterman for approximately 10 days, and was given excellent care by the doctors, nurses, aides, etc. I love the private rooms. In fact, that was a big plus for me selecting your hospital. As a matter of fact, my husband is a cardiac operating room tech at Leesburg Regional (he once worked at your hospital in the surgical department), but we both were very pleased with my experience at Waterman. 

I want to especially express to you how pleased I am with the Radiation Department that Dr. Purdon works in. My oncologist referred me to him because of some pain that I was having, and so I have been under his care for the past couple of weeks. I have been pleased with his service and care, and also the care I have received from Nurse Julie.

I also want to let you know of the wonderful way the ladies, Urja Desai and Jean Grondin, in radiation have been working with me. You see, I am a teacher at Tavares Elementary, so my schedule is not very flexible. On top of that, I am taking chemo once a week at my doctor’s office. These ladies have been taking special care to schedule my appointments at times that are best for me. Each time I am there, I tell them just how much I really appreciate them.

I will have to have 15 sessions of radiation, and since the very first time I have gone in with them, they have made me feel extremely comfortable. They are always in wonderful moods with bright smiles and lots of laughter. They always put me at ease.

I also don't want to forget the ladies at the front desk, Lynee Schlichting and Becky Fechtenburg.  They too are a pleasure to talk to.  They both greet me with smiles each day, no matter if I am there at 8 a.m. or 4:15 in the afternoon. They make me feel like they have known me for months instead of just the couple of weeks I have been going in.

I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful job these people are doing, and that you and the hospital should be quite proud to have them as part of your team.

Bonnie Jones

Just a note to let you know how pleased I was with my care at Florida Hospital Waterman Cancer Institute. Cancer is such a scary word. Everyone was so warm and friendly, especially Jackie Barrett and Dr. Brabham. They seemed to have all the time for me that I needed. The nurses too, Laura and Georgeann, were so caring. When I did have a problem at home it was a comfort to be able to contact Jackie directly. Thank you for putting such a wonderful team together.

P.S.: I did not mean to exclude all the techs and radiation specialists—the best!

Sandra Bentley

It’s not every day one gets a chance to thank someone for helping save their life, but that’s just what I’m doing—thank you! I doubt I would have been here today, writing this, if it hadn’t been for both Dr. Purdon and Dr. Brabham, as well as Dr. Gousse and Dr. Mascarenhas. This was my first encounter with a hospital environment and invasive procedures, and I’m almost 53 years old. This is also the first time I’ve faced dying head-on. It’s a humbling experience. You made it so much easier to deal with. I will never forget your kindness and patience in dealing not only with my condition, but also with my endless questions about my radiation course. No words can adequately express my gratitude.

God bless you.

Joseph Fafard

I am a patient of Florida Hospital Waterman Cancer Institute. I want to express my gratitude and appreciate for the wonderful care that I am receiving. The doctors and nurses have been very caring and encouraging as I continue my treatments. Everyone working at the center has been very friendly and treats everyone as special.

I have been treated with radiation and am now receiving chemo, and because of this wonderful cancer center I am on my way to cured!

We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful facility in our community of Tavares, one that gives us hope.

Dorothy Gifford

Thank you for all the thoughtfulness and consideration you showed me during a very dark time in my life. God bless you all!

Effie Brackney

The main ingredient to my care is your kindness, patience and ability to understand. You are my inspiration to complete the recommended treatment.  God bless!

Walter Friedman

I have been a patient at your Cancer Center and was being treated for my cancer through radiation therapy. The main reason for writing is to let you know how well I have been treated by the entire medical team at the center. They made a stressful situation more bearable over the six weeks of treatment and during my follow-up care. 

It all starts with Becky at the reception desk always greeting you with a friendly smile, and goes to the friendly radiation techs Urga and Jean. I cannot say enough about Dr. Purdon and his medical staff and the nurses, Tony and GeorgeAnn, and especially Julie Arcaro, your nurse practitioner.

I believe that, too many times, we as patients do not recognize the medical staffs for their caring and dedication to their profession, and they all should be commended.

I would appreciate it if Dr. Purdon’s entire staff was told how well I and others have been treated at the Center.

Sherrie Douglas, Donor Relations Coordinator

I wanted to share a donor story with you. Yesterday, the house supervisor brought up an envelope with a donation to support breast cancer from a community member.  he person had come in during the night shift. The envelope indicated the donation was made up of bills and change in memory of this person’s grandmother and in honor of another family member. 

Apparently this individual was driving by the hospital Monday evening and indicated to Jeanne she was inspired by the “pink” dome. She felt she had to come and give all she could at that moment. She literally emptied her purse of all her money. She was so happy to make the gift in memory/honor of family members who had breast cancer.

Just thought you would like to know how our “pinking” is already making an impact!

Josephine (“Jo”) C.,, Reviews for Florida Hospital Waterman

My mammogram wasn't even “processed”; I was still getting dressed after the mammo when I asked the very experienced mammo technician (specialist) about the “puckered” skin on the side of my breast. She asked me how long I had had the lump! I asked what lump? She placed my fingers directly on the lump! I had just done a self-exam of my breasts about a week before and had found nothing! My mammo tech found the lump before the radiologist even had the film to process! I could never have had a better team of oncologists—Mascarenhas, Brabham and Hussein! THE BEST! (I also saw Dr. Purdon on occasion—also a wonderful radiation oncologist.) Never could I say enough positive comments about the incredible staff at Waterman (Tavares), from the secretaries, Becky and Leslie, to the best nurses in the business, Georgeanne, Laura and Tony (and Cindy over at Dr. Mascarenhas” office!), to my angel radiation technicians who made me laugh and lifted my spirit every single time I walked in to have the many treatments! I’m not purposely leaving anyone out; there were so many compassionate people who worked with me. I didn’t have even one negative experience with the great people who work at Waterman! I truly think they’re all angels! S-M-I-L-E.