Category Archives: Health

Kidney donor recipient from Hooters’ waitress discharged from Piedmont Atlanta Hospital today

(Atlanta, Ga.) – “The kidney is doing fabulous, 72-year-old Donald Thomas told reporters today, as he was about to be discharged from Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, after a successful kidney transplant. The procedure was done by Piedmont Transplant Institute, courtesy of kidney donor, 22-year-old Mariana Villarreal, who met Thomas as a waitress at a Hooters restaurant, in Roswell, GA.

“I have 2 kidneys, do you want one of mine? Villarreal recalled saying to Thomas, when she first made the offer to donate one of her kidneys to him. “If I can give you part of me to save your life, thats all the better, she said.

“It was a life-saving kidney transplant donation. Had it not been for her offer to donate her kidney, he would have waited on the kidney donor list for years. And by the time one became available, he probably would not have been healthy enough for the surgery, said Dr. Joshua Wolf, Transplant Nephrologist, with Piedmont Transplant Institute.

Both donor and recipient will be home today, just three days following their procedure. Villarreal was released from the hospital late in the evening on Saturday.

“Both are doing really well and this procedure really isnt new to us. We do 70 to 80 living transplants like this a year, said Harrison Pollinger, DO, who performed Villarreals donor procedure on Friday. Pollinger used a robotic approach to perform Villarreals nephrectomy, or kidney removal. This minimally invasive approach allows access to the kidneys via a small incision in the abdomen. The result is a reduction in the patients post-operative recovery time and quicker return to daily activities, which doctors say is a bonus for living donors who give second chances.

The average life of a transplanted kidney is between 10 and 12 years. Thanks to Villarreals altruism, both donor and recipient should be able to live healthy lives. As a living donor, Mariana will do so with only the one kidney.

This selfless gift was the result of a true twist of fate. Villarreal and Thomas barely knew one another, but Villarreal recently lost her grandmother to kidney failure and said she felt inspired to help Thomas.

Villarreal said she was surprised her kidney donation has received such notoriety, adding her family and friends from as far away as Puerto Rico heard about it.

“On Facebook and Instagram, from as far away as Europe and Japan, I have received messages like, ‘You are hope for our society, she said.

Piedmont Heart Institute Announces Alliance with Cleveland Clinic

Atlanta (March 25, 2015) – Since 2007, Piedmont Heart Institute (PHI) has been the largest preferred provider for heart care in the Atlanta and surrounding area. Since then, with its continued expansion of complex and life-saving expertise and advanced treatment modalities, it has grown into one of the premier cardiac centers in the Southeast. As further evidence of PHI’s innovation and service to the patients of Georgia and the region beyond, we are excited to announce an alliance with the nation’s #1 heart program, the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

Cleveland Clinic selected Piedmont Heart as its partner in Georgia due to PHI’s excellence in clinical care, education and research. The association will enable both organizations to strengthen all elements of clinical quality for cardiovascular medicine and cardiac surgery within Piedmont, better serving the region’s population. Cleveland Clinic and Piedmont Heart will share clinical policies, treatment protocols and research opportunities.

“In its inception, Piedmont Heart Institute was created for collaboration,” said Sidney Kirschner, CEO of Piedmont Physicians. “We brought together the best clinicians in Atlanta for cardiac care, knowing that together, they would significantly raise the bar for research, innovation and quality of what’s available to our patients and communities. Our alliance with Cleveland Clinic continues these efforts on a larger stage.”

“Teamwork is the next phase of American medicine. We’re finding new ways to combine our strengths for better patient care.” said Lars Svensson, MD, Chairmen of Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold MillerHeart and Vascular Institute. “This alliance will allow us to accelerate advancements in cardiac care.”

“Piedmont Heart holds itself accountable to high levels of excellence,” said Charles Brown, M.D., chief of cardiovascular services for Piedmont. “We are pleased that Cleveland Clinic recognized us as the market leader and sought to have this alliance with us to better serve the southeast region. It confirmed a standard of quality that we know we offer.”

“As we sought high quality alliance members, we assessed Piedmont Heart Institute’s cardiac programs, infrastructure, resources and outcomes to ensure the system could provide comparable quality vital to our mission,” said Joseph Cacchione, M.D., Cardiologist and Chairman of Operations and Strategy at Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute. “This alliance strengthens the delivery of world-class care to patients who live in Georgia and the southeast.”

About Piedmont Heart Institute

Piedmont Heart Institute (PHI) is one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac CareTM and is the first integrated cardiovascular healthcare delivery program affiliated with a community health system in greater Atlanta. It is headquartered on the campus of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, a 488-bed tertiary care facility offering all major medical, surgical and diagnostic services. Offering a continuum of patient care, including primary and secondary prevention, outpatient and inpatient cardiovascular care, and appropriate quality measures and metrics to demonstrate enhanced outcomes. Piedmont Heart Institute combines nearly 125 affiliated cardiovascular specialists in Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians with over 25 locations to propel new programs in cardiovascular research, education and excellence in prevention, arrhythmias, coronary and vascular intervention, stroke and cardiac imaging. Locations span from south of Atlanta in Fayette and Coweta counties to Blairsville in the North Georgia mountains. Piedmont Heart Institute is part of Piedmont Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Piedmont Fayette Hospital, a 157-bed, acute-care community hospital in Fayetteville and one of the 100 Top Hospitals® in the nation; Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a 42-bed community hospital in Jasper; Piedmont Newnan Hospital, a 136-bed, acute-care community hospital in Newnan; and Piedmont Henry Hospital, a 215-bed acute-care community hospital in Stockbridge. Piedmont Healthcare also is the parent company of the Piedmont Physicians Group, with more than 200 primary care physicians in over 60 offices throughout metro Atlanta; the Piedmont Clinic, a 1,000-member physician network; and Piedmont Healthcare Foundation, the philanthropic entity for private fundraising initiatives. For more information, visit

 About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. More than 3,000 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. The Cleveland Clinic health system includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals, more than 75 Northern Ohio outpatient locations, including 16 full-service Family Health Centers, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and, scheduled to begin seeing patients in 2015, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2013, there were 5.5 million outpatient visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 130 countries. Visit us at  Follow us at

New Running Series Highlights Georgia State Parks: Sponsored by Dirty Spokes Productions

Runners, prepare to get dirty in the great outdoors.  Dirty Spokes Productions is sponsoring a Georgia State Parks trail-running series throughout 2013.  Runners will explore trails at four state parks while earning points for awards.  Registration fees range from $25 to $45 and include chip timing, “dry-fit” shirts, post-race recovery drinks and fruit.

The trail running series covers four state parks in the northern part of Georgia:

Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville
9.9/3.1 Mile Trail Run
August 3

Unicoi State Park in Helen
10K/5K Trail Run
September 7

Fort Yargo State Park in Winder
8.55K/3.45K Trail Run
October 12

Victoria Bryant State Park near Lavonia
10K/5K Trail Run
December 7

Competitors will race along some of Georgia’s most scenic trails, enjoying lakes, mountains and streams.  To register and learn more, visit  Racers and spectators may want to stay overnight in the parks’s cabins, lodge rooms, yurts or campsites.  For reservations and to learn more about Georgia’s State Parks, visit