"Weight loss surgery at Lower Keys changed my life – and gave me more life to look forward to."
Atavia Lopez-Dor knows first-hand of the great care provided at Lower Keys Medical Center. The hospital has saved her life - not just once, but twice. And now she's giving back to the community, helping others who struggle with obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.
Atavia has struggled with obesity since she was a child. “It runs in the family,” she says. At her heaviest, she weighed 426 pounds and was suffering all the complications that accompany morbid obesity.
She almost died in 2011 when her colon ruptured and she got sepsis or blood poisoning. She was in the ICU for several weeks and had part of her colon removed due to diverticulitis.
She knew she needed to address her weight, but wasn't ready.
“I always told Dr. Larrauri that I wanted to have the gastric sleeve surgery done but that he was the only one I'd let do it. I kept telling him to let me know when you are ready to do the sleeve surgery.”
Dr. Juan Larrauri is a general surgeon on the medial staff at Lower Keys Medical Center. Following specialized training in Pennsylvania, he began offering the gastric sleeve procedure at Lower Keys Medical Center in 2014. He uses a robot to assist with the minimally invasive surgery, which leaves just five small hole-like incisions.
Atavia, who was indeed his first gastric sleeve patient, now refers to the date of her surgery - December 18 - as her surgi-versary.
She's lost 170 pounds since then and feels like a new woman. “I feel phenomenal. It's the best decision I ever made.”
Atavia started a Facebook group to share with - and be supported by - others for whom weight management will always be a lifetime focus. “It's all about living healthier lifestyles and encouraging each other, she says. She also started a pilates group that meets every Sunday morning.
“I didn't use to wear a swimsuit or go to the beach which is a real shame living in a beautiful place like Key West, but now I love it.”
But it wasn't looking good in a swimsuit that motivated her to have the surgery. “My children were the deciding factor in moving forward with the surgery. They are 18, 15, 11 and 10. And I want to be around for a long time for them.”
"The medical team at Lower Keys saved my baby, and they saved my life too. Now I can enjoy a lifetime of loving Noah."
Lisa Arrieta and her baby boy, Noah, are both living miracles. That’s thanks to the fast action of emergency and maternity staff at LKMC.
While out grocery shopping with her husband during her seventh month of pregnancy, Lisa knew something was suddenly and terribly wrong. She had experienced a placental abruption, during which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus, creating a life-threatening emergency for both mother and baby.
“It was incredibly frightening,” she recalls. She was rushed by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.
“When you have doctors, nurses, and all these other people in the room with you at one time, you know it’s serious. They kept telling me not to move.”
An emergency C-Section was performed to save baby Noah, and then, additional surgery was needed to save Lisa’s life.
“Next thing I know, I’m waking up. The nurse was amazing. She knew I’d have a lot of questions, but she was so patient and kind and caring with me. I know she answered some of the same questions over and over. From start to finish, my experience at the hospital was great.”
“Noah was flown to Miami where he stayed in the NICU for five weeks. The doctors didn’t think he would make it, because he’d been without oxygen for so long.”
Not only did Noah make it, but he’s a happy, healthy, thriving baby as he approaches his first birthday.
“Our family is so grateful for Lower Keys Medical Center. They were there when we needed them most.”