Real people, real doctors. Real stories of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Hear directly from GW Hospital patients as they share their emotional experiences of critical health moments - from their first lab tests to the joys of good health. Experienced physicians share fascinating details of new treatment options and preventative care to avoid disease and pain.


Embolism: Busy Retiree Codes Five Times Before ECMO
Featured Speaker: Bonita Bell
Retiree Bonita Bell was always on the go, until one day a pulmonary embolism strikes… and she codes an unimaginable five times. ECMO technology is key in keeping her going. Her son David recounts the terrifying experience of witnessing his mother’s emergency, as well as the comfort of seeing her doctor at her bedside from night to morning.

Brain Bleed: Virtual Reality Takes Young Woman on a Journey Inside Her Head
Featured Speaker: Danielle Collins
After 27-year-old Danielle Collins develops a splitting headache, emergency room physicians discover a life-threatening brain bleed. Advanced medical visualization allows Danielle to see inside her own brain and GW Hospital neurosurgeons to prepare for the life-saving surgery. What did Danielle see with these VR goggles? How did they help Danielle make a decision about surgery? How did this advanced technology help her surgeons chart their work?

Weight Loss Surgery: A Seat Belt Was the Last Straw for a Life-Long Dieter
Featured Speakers: Odessa Bernal - Beras
Odessa adored hanging out with her big and loving family. She also enjoyed the rich homemade feasts that were the center of their gatherings. But these delicious meals, desk work, and a driving lifestyle added to her burden. No diet was ever successful for very long. When she needs a seat belt extender on a flight, she is done. With determination, Odessa heads to GW’s Weight Loss Clinic. Dr. Juliet Lee walks Odessa through the steps preceding bariatric surgery and a whole new way of living. Together, Dr. Lee and Odessa explore the types of weight loss surgery before making a decision on which to pursue. Learn who makes a good candidate for weight loss surgery and necessary steps prior to surgery.

Tonsil Cancer: Lobbyist Takes a Chance on Trial Treatment
Featured Speaker: Joel Hinzman
After stage 4 tonsil cancer threatens lobbyist Joel Hinzman’s voice and health, he takes a chance on a bold new treatment that promises to save his life… and his career.

Trauma and Pain Management: Coach Injured in the Congressional Baseball Shooting
Featured Speaker: Matt Mika
As a volunteer coach for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, Matt Mika was in his element. Lobbyist from 9 to 5, and athlete overtime. But everything changed in minutes when a shooter opened fire on the diamond in the 2017 game. Matt sustains life-threatening injuries that bring him to the edge of death. Emergency treatment for Matt and other victims was successful, but recovery was another matter. The pain had to be controlled so Matt could work to get stronger. The pain management approach at GW Hospital’s Center for Trauma and Critical Care addresses his crippling pain and allows Matt to go home and control his care with 24/7 dedicated support. On his journey to health, Matt connects with special agent David Bailey, also injured that day. Their special friendship and openness help with their healing inside.

Prostate Cancer: International Worker Faces Irregular PSA and Promotes Screening
Featured Speaker: Jeff Gray
Sixty-five-year-old international aid worker Jeff Gray is in top shape… until a screening test for prostate cancer turns his world upside down. Urology specialist Michael Whalen, MD, proposes a treatment plan that includes robotic-assisted surgery, therapy, and continued care.

Facial Feminization: An Important Step in Becoming Who She Was Meant To Be
Featured Speaker: Ameirah Neal
For artist Ameirah Neal, seeing a feminine face in the mirror was an important step in her gender transition. But talking to doctors and completing medical interviews felt intrusive and often unkind. Until she met Dr. Jerry Chao of the GW Hospital Plastic Surgery Department. Dr. Chao helps Ameirah see the potential in her features. His compassionate approach allows Ameirah to trust her treatment and move forward in life.

Kidney Donation: The Gift That Fulfilled Dreams for Two Young Women
Featured Speakers: Hayley Harman and Kayla Trammel
Kayla, a young mother, endures dialysis as she prays for a kidney transplant. Finally, she learns that a kidney is going to be available to her – all because someone she had never met decided to donate to someone in need. Hayley, a graduate student, had always dreamed of giving a kidney–a gift of life. Hayley and Kayla, once strangers to each other, connect through this incredible process orchestrated by Dr. Joseph Keith Melancon and the GW Hospital Transplant Team in an encounter they will never forget. Learn about the careful kidney transplant process and how there is little risk and no cost to the donor.

Long Covid: Young Lawyer Continues to Struggle with Symptoms After Being Hospitalized in early 2020
Featured Speaker: Francis Wilson
In early 2020, Francis Wilson is hospitalized by a mysterious virus. Francis’ haunting journey takes him to the ER, the ICU, and then to the grip of long COVID-19. With the help of infectious disease specialist Hana Akselrod, MD, some of Francis’ mysteries are unraveled.

Rotator Cuff: After a Tear, How a Bowler Got Back in the Lanes
Featured Speaker: Joseph Brooks
Joseph Brooks lived to bowl and to clown around with his grandkids. That came to a halt for the active retiree when his rotator cuff went out of commission. After living with growing pain, Joseph is ready to partner with orthopaedic surgeon Zachary Zimmer, MD, for a solution. The reluctant patient decides to try minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery. The result is a story Joseph and his wife Nancy are excited to share.

Breast Cancer: After Diagnosis, a Doctor is Guided by a Surgeon and Patient
Featured Speaker: Dr. Mariam Said
Dr. Mariam Said is used to being on the other side of the examining table. When she learns that she has breast cancer, an unexpected bond with her surgeon helps her take charge of the situation. Surgeon Dr. Christine Teal, who had preventative mastectomies herself, helps Mariam chart a path forward. Dr. Teal believes that each patient should make decisions that make sense for them and their lives. Options for many breast cancer patients include radiation, chemotherapy, and in some cases, a mastectomy. Dr. Teal shares her own inspiring story and decision-making process as she helps Mariam navigate critical treatment decisions. Mariam shares how the experience changed and even enhanced her life.