The networking site LinkedIn is a go-to place for members of the business community to connect. Postings and conversations are typically all business. But last month, one member — "Big" Hogan E. Copeland II from Jacksonville, Florida — took a bit of a detour to tell his 2,786 followers a very personal story.
In a post titled, "Saved My Eyesight," Hogan waxes poetic about how he had taken his vision for granted, until it started to change without warning. Hogan writes that he noticed the changes on a Wednesday, "and by Friday my sight was almost gone." An eye exam revealed that a broken blood clot in his left eye was to blame. The diagnosis? A branch retinal vein occlusion, as the cool ophthalmologists call it, which would require treatment from a specialist.
That specialist turned out to be Michael Stewart, M.D., chair of the Division of Ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. "He's wonderful," Hogan says of Dr. Stewart. "He sat me down, laid everything out for me, and just continued to reassure me that I was going to get better, and that it was just going to take time." It also was going to take multiple corrective surgeries, Hogan would learn. The first, a vitrectomy, took place in July. "That all went well and everything was healing fine, but then my eye started swelling again," Hogan tells us.
That's when a second specialist, Syril Dorairaj, M.D., joined Hogan's care team. "The first thing he and Dr. Stewart did was to clean out more tissue," Hogan says. "They also put a shunt in my eye and did a cataract lens replacement." Things seemed to be healing well until two weeks later, when Hogan "woke up at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday with my left eye as red as a Corvette."
What happened next, Hogan tells us, is why he refers to Mayo Clinic as "one of the First Coast treasures" in his LinkedIn post. "Dr. Dorairaj had told me to call him if I ever needed anything, so I did. I called him at 4 a.m.," Hogan says. "He turned out to be in Singapore … so I called one of the Ophthalmology techs, Jason Calhoun, and he said, 'Give me five minutes.'"
Soon, Hogan had received emails from both Dr. Dorairaj and Dr. Stewart. Dr. Stewart also was away, but arranged for his colleague, James Bolling, M.D., to call Hogan. Hogan tells us when his phone rang, Dr. Bolling instructed him to meet him on the second floor of the Davis Building — where he'd had his previous treatments — rather than the emergency room. "This was now at 7 a.m. on a Saturday," Hogan says. "I was the only patient on the floor. Dr. Bolling sat there and talked to me while he worked to relieve the pressure in my eye," Hogan tells us. "It was amazing to see that level of care and concern."
With the swelling now gone and his vision restored, Hogan tells us he wants everyone on LinkedIn — and the rest of the world, for that matter — to know that, in his mind, Mayo Clinic is "the only place to go" for medical care. "Mayo Clinic is a sight saver in my book," he writes. "The care and gentle understanding they provide to patients is indescribable."
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