The Patients First Principle

Patients First is the guiding principle of Cleveland Clinic. It declares the significance of patient care, comfort and communication in every part of the patient experience. Patients First also demands a relentless focus on measurable quality. By setting standards, collecting data, and analyzing results, Cleveland Clinic puts patients first, resulting in improved outcomes and better service.

The guiding principle of Patients First even extends to facility design. Designers of the new Cleveland Clinic Florida Egil & Pauline Braathen Center on the Weston campus embraced the health and wellness benefits of natural light. Both the exterior and the interior design help maximize internal access to natural light, creating a light-filled, functional and sustainable building.

World-Class Care, Expanding in Florida

Unprecedented expansion is underway at Cleveland Clinic Florida to meet the demand for the Cleveland Clinic model of care.

Patients come to Cleveland Clinic Florida seeking the outstanding patient care we’ve provided for more than 25 years. An integral part of the Ohio-based Cleveland Clinic family of facilities in the U.S. and abroad, Cleveland Clinic Florida is a not-for-profit, multi-specialty, academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.

To meet the demand for broader access to Cleveland Clinic’s primary and specialty care and inpatient services, Cleveland Clinic Florida has embarked on an ambitious growth plan encompassing facilities, technology and services.

Advancing Cancer and Neurological Care

Thanks to a generous $30 million donation by longtime patient Pauline Braathen, Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Weston medical campus now features a new 143,000 square foot, five-story building. It is home to the expanded Pauline Braathen Neurological Center as well as the Maroone Cancer Center, supported with major funding from the Maroone family. Opened in February 2015, this new facility includes state-of-the-art technology and advanced equipment that allows Cleveland Clinic to elevate the level of healthcare in South Florida, while continuing to enhance the patient experience. By investing in the Weston campus, Cleveland Clinic Florida is equipped to provide the most specialized care possible in a unique environment optimized for healing and putting Patients First.

The Egil & Pauline Braathen Center includes:

  • A world-class neurology center with expanded patient services
  • A comprehensive cancer center to deliver advanced cancer care
  • The first hospital-based Varian Edge™ radiosurgery suite with submillimeter accuracy and real-time tumor tracking in the Southeastern U.S.
  • Expanded patient infrastructure

Driving Innovation with Technology

Cleveland Clinic Florida’s commitment to advancing care and improving patient outcomes is bolstered by investments in cutting-edge technology. These include a new hybrid operating room, which combines the imaging capabilities of an interventional suite with the safety and hygiene of an operating room. It is equipped with a bi-plane X-ray C-Arm that can take images in two planes at the same time. As a result, the physician obtains real-time moving images of internal structures providing guidance during a procedure or surgery. Cleveland Clinic’s hybrid OR is currently being used for cardiac, vascular, electrophysiology and neuro-interventional radiology procedures.

Also under construction on the Weston campus is an Interventional Radiology Annex, which will house one biplane and two single-plane angiography suites to treat interventional radiology and neuro-interventional radiology patients. Bringing these technology resources and endovascular interventions to patients is one reason Cleveland Clinic Florida has been designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

Expanding Complex Care with Transplants

Cleveland Clinic Florida has made the very important addition of transplant services to further strengthen its wide-ranging capabilities for delivering complex care to patients. This summer the transplant program marked its first anniversary, completing more than 40 kidney and liver transplants since July 2013 while also obtaining program approval from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Cleveland Clinic Florida has also just launched a third transplant program upon receiving approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) for adult heart transplants in June 2014.

Reaching Out Across South Florida

To improve access in South Florida to Cleveland Clinic Florida’s unique model of healthcare, physical expansion in the past year has included the opening of medical offices in Palm Beach Gardens and Parkland, to complement the downtown West Palm Beach location, Family Health Center in Weston, and the main Weston campus. Today a team of more than 240 physicians and 2300 employees, working across all Cleveland Clinic Florida locations, are ready to serve patients from all over South Florida, across the state, across the country and from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Aortic Aneurysm Stenting: Options for Repairing a Life-Threatening Condition

An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and abdomen. They are more common than you would think. According to the CDC, about two-thirds of people who have an aortic aneurysm are male. Other risk factors include age over 65, family history of aneurysm disease, as well as tobacco use. So, if a relative has had an aortic aneurysm, you are a smoker, and you’re a man over the age of 65, it might be time to talk to your physician about your risk. And if you already know you have this condition, you’ll want vascular experts to follow you closely.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms affect approximately 15,000 people in the United States each year. Up to 47,000 people die each year from all types of aortic disease; more than from breast cancer, AIDS, homicides, or motor vehicle accidents, making aortic disease a silent epidemic, says Nicolas Brozzi, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Florida. We have the tools and expertise to detect this condition. Once diagnosed, we follow patients extremely closely to determine the best course of action to take.

The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, running from the heart down to the waist, where it divides into the iliac arteries. An aneurysm is a weakened area that can form anywhere along the aorta. If it bursts, it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. Aortic aneurysm can affect both men and women, and it can run in families. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men aged 65-75 years who have ever smoked get an abdominal ultrasound to screen for it.

Smaller aneurysms don't usually need repair, but they do need close follow-up. For larger aneurysms, those over five centimeters (about two inches) in diameter, experienced vascular surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Florida offer patients several options to replace the weakened wall.

Open surgery for this condition is tried and true, and creates a very stable repair, says Terry King, MD, vascular surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Florida. But we also offer a newer procedure, endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), that requires smaller incisions and a much shorter hospital stay

Vascular surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Florida perform about 50 aortic aneurysm repairs each year, and about 65 percent of them are through EVAR, Dr. King says. During this procedure, a surgeon who specializes in vascular conditions inserts a catheter through tiny incisions in the groin area and threads it up through the aorta using X-ray guidance to reach the precise location of the aneurysm. Then, a fabric tube supported by metal stents is expanded into the artery to cover and reinforce the weak area. Recovery with EVAR is usually two to three days, compared to two to three weeks with conventional surgery.

EVAR requires close follow up for years, but it's a good option and first choice for most of our patients, especially those who would be at risk for open surgery, Dr. King says.

New Program Meets South Florida's Need for Life-Saving Transplants

Until recently, many people in South Florida needing liver, kidney or heart transplant had to either travel elsewhere to a transplant center, or go without this life-saving option. With the opening of Cleveland Clinic Florida's Transplant Program last fall, and approval by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to add heart transplant to its existing kidney and liver transplant program, more people have access to this critical option for care, right here in South Florida.

We worked closely with our colleagues at the transplant program in Cleveland, Ohio to implement the same model of success here in Florida, says Andreas Tzakis, MD, director of Cleveland Clinic Florida's Transplant Program. We've recruited an outstanding team of transplant professionals for the program, and we’ve gotten great feedback from our patients.

Considering how ill many of these patients are, having such a center close to home is vital. To qualify to be on a heart transplant list, for example, patients have to be able to travel quickly to a transplant center when the organ is available. That can involve moving and relocating their families for months. Many transplant candidates are unable do that for many reasons, such as poor health, work and finances. As a result, transplant is not an option for them.

However, now the Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic Florida offers patients innovative care for disorders related to the liver, kidneys and heart. Using the latest and most advanced medical and surgical treatment options, our specialists are experts in the treatment of advanced diseases, and managing patient care with the most appropriate therapy.

Cleveland Clinic Florida's Transplant Program just celebrated reaching the 100 transplant procedure mark, providing a second chance for those patients who have received a liver, kidney, or heart transplant to date. The first heart transplant was completed last fall, and the program is continuing to grow.

With the opening of the new center, the pace of the program has accelerated, Dr. Tzakis says. "It's clear to us we are filling a critical need here in South Florida."

Nationally, researchers project that 20,000 to 70,000 people could benefit from heart transplant alone if it were more widely available, says Cedric Sheffield, MD, Cleveland Clinic Florida heart transplant surgeon and surgical director of the new adult heart transplant program. We have committed a great amount of resources to create a high performing transplant center. It's an intensive process, but a huge number of patients are already benefiting. That's the reason we're here.

New in Radiation Therapy: One of the Most Advanced Innovations in the Southeast

Patients at Cleveland Clinic Florida who need radiation treatment for cancer of the brain, spine, lung, liver, prostate and pancreas now have access to one of the most comprehensive and advanced innovations available in the southeast - the Varian Edge™ Radiosurgery System. This powerful new technology is extremely precise, accurate and fast, using tumor-destroying radiation to treat cancers throughout the body, while avoiding the surrounding healthy tissue.

This is the most comprehensive platform for radiosurgery available, and it allows us to give our patients faster, more accurate radiosurgical treatments – up to six times faster than before, says John Greskovich, MD, medical director of radiation oncology at Cleveland Clinic Florida. And depending on the stage and type of cancer, this can be curative treatment.

Dr. Greskovich and his team were among the first in the world to use the Edge™ radiosurgery system while at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Now here at Cleveland Clinic Florida, this same team is excited to offer this therapy as part of the new Maroone Cancer Center.

According to Dr. Greskovich, the high dose rate of radiation provided by the Edge system can reduce a treatment session that might take up to two hours elsewhere to only 20 to 30 minutes. The overall length of treatment can also be cut drastically, from eight weeks down to just one-to-five days in some cases. Additionally, the advanced accuracy and precision software built into the system tracks any patient movement in real-time to ensure the radiation dose hits the target – and not healthy tissue.

Those are all huge bonuses for our patients, Dr. Greskovich says. "It's a team like ours and technology like this that sets us apart as a leader in innovative cancer therapies."

Team Approach to DVT, PAD and CAD: Treating Blood Flow and Blockages

Poor blood flow to the heart and blockages in blood vessels can cause severe quality of life issues and serious risks to health. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can cause debilitating leg pain or a dangerous clot in the lung, for example. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can lead to organ damage and heart attack. And carotid artery disease (CAD) can bring about stroke. Furthermore, these conditions share risk factors and can cause similar symptoms, so diagnosis takes care and expertise.

A lot of times, one symptom is a hidden sign of something else, says Carmel Celestin, MD, Cleveland Clinic Florida vascular medicine specialist. With our team of experts, each with different training and experience, we&rsre able to better pinpoint the problem and get all the right specialists involved.

Each patient with blockages or poor circulation has a medical team made of vascular medicine specialists, vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists, interventional cardiologists, therapists and others – all in the same building. We are in very close communication with each other, says Mehrdad Farid, MD, Cleveland Clinic Florida vascular medicine specialist. That plays a major role in allowing us to determine if medicine or surgery or simple lifestyle changes would be best for a particular patient.

For urgent or emergency care as well as management of these chronic conditions over time, the multidisciplinary or team approach leads to quick, effective diagnosis and treatment, so patients learn as quickly as possible what their treatment plan will be. That's something patients appreciate, Dr. Farid says. Staff also coordinate visits so that patients can see a variety of specialists in the same day, when possible, and the team meets regularly to evaluate each patient's ongoing plan of care.

Summer Recipes

Artichoke Dip


1 cup artichoke, frozen
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp back pepper


Boil artichokes and drain. Mix with ricotta cheese in blender. Add black pepper to taste.

Makes 4 Servings

Nutritional Information Per Serving:


105 calories
Sodium: 89 mg
Protein: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 3
Total Fat: 5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 gr
Carbohydrates: 7 g
Cholesterol: 19 mg

Roasted Veggie-Cheddar Wrap

The veggies taste wonderful roasted in the oven, but you can also grill them on an outdoor barbecue.


1 medium eggplant
1 medium summer squash
4 slices of red tomato ripe
1/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese shredded
1/2 cup romaine lettuce chopped
2 medium whole wheat flour tortillas
4 Tbs Italian noon-fat dressing

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Brush both sides of vegetables with dressing; arrange on baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and roast in oven until vegetables are tender, turning 2 to 3 times. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven, if desired.
  2. Layer veggies, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato in heated tortilla and wrap up. To boost the nutrition even further, substitute spinach or other leafy green for lettuce.

Makes 2 servings

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Calories: 230
Protein: 12 gr.
Dietary Fiber: 21 gr.
Total Fat: 4 gr.
Sodium: 500 mg.
Carbohydrates: 41 gr.
Cholesterol: 11 mg