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Raising Awareness for Peripheral Artery Disease

September 14, 2017

PAD AWARENESS BLOG 9.14.17-1September is Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) awareness month! PAD is a cardiovascular condition characterized by narrowing of the peripheral arteries, which results in poor blood flow to the extremities. While PAD can affect the arteries of the head, arms, and stomach, the disease is most prevalent in the legs and can cause symptoms such as leg cramps, leg pain, and fatigue when walking. Continue reading “Raising Awareness for Peripheral Artery Disease” »

Thoughtful Tuesday

February 21, 2017

TMP_9414“You are the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the people you spend time with, the conversations you engage in. Choose wisely what you feed your mind.”

Dr. Swain enjoys educating the community about peripheral arterial disease, amputation education, and limb salvage through the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation and volunteering with A Leg Up: The Jacksonville Amputation Support Group.  He has also done countless community service health education presentations for doctors, nurses, and members of the general population. These activities feed Dr. Swain’s mind and define who he is.

Preventing Amputations: The SALSAL Foundation

February 9, 2017

TMP_6927Nearly half of unhealed diabetic foot ulcers result in death within five years. In fact, 85% of lower-limb amputations in patients with diabetes are preceded with a foot ulcer, according to Diabetes Care. New Cardiovascular Horizons estimates the associated cost with amputations is $10-20 billion, every single year. These figures are staggering.

The consequences of amputations are devastating, yet many amputations can be prevented through early screenings and care. The Save a Leg, Save a Life (SALSAL) Foundation aims to reduce the incidence of lower-extremity amputations through education and patient advocacy. The SALSAL Foundation works closely with First Coast Cardiovascular Institute to inspire hope in those patients told nothing could be done for them.

Of the people who have benefited from the work of the SALSAL Foundation is Carla Urff. Carla has been a diabetic since the age of 11. She found out she had peripheral artery disease (PAD) at the age of 37. “In less than 2 years of diagnosis, they told me I needed to prepare for amputation because I had developed gangrene in the foot,” Carla said. She had several surgical procedures, which bought her some years, but were not a permanent solution.

After developing gangrene a second time and having three toes turn black, Carla decided to search the internet for a solution. She found the SALSAL Foundation and contacted Dr. Desmond Bell, the Founder & President of the SALSAL Foundation, as well as a top Wound Care Specialist. “He sent me to an Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Yazan Khatib, who confirmed he could help me,” Carla says.

“Dr. Khatib started cleaning out my arteries and stenting, putting stents in my legs and my heart,” Carla says. Dr. Khatib worked on her for five and a half hours straight to get the first stent in.

“He was not going to stop. He told me I can fix this,” Carla says, “I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I was, knowing that I was so close to amputation, that there was actually help out there.” Carla now lives a healthy life without the fear of amputation.

It is stories like Carla that inspires Dr. Bell to spread the mission of the SALSAL Foundation. “We are trying to educate people so they can be proactive and avoid getting to a state where amputation is their only choice,” Dr. Bell says.

To learn more about the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation or to donate to the cause, visit Donations will go towards raising awareness and assisting those in need to purchase diabetic shoes, socks, and supplies for PAD screenings.
Continue reading “Preventing Amputations: The SALSAL Foundation” »

Thoughtful Tuesday

October 25, 2016

sssl0025“Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.”

-Tony Robbins

Having had the privilege of serving the First Coast for the past 15 years, we’ve found that change is inevitable. The landscape of healthcare is constantly evolving and it is our job to stay at the forefront of these changes so we can consistently provide the best care to patients. That’s why we’ve redefined our mission statement over the years as a symbol of our progress. Our mission is to, “To enhance quality of life by providing cutting-edge care with a team of compassionate experts and advance medicine through research, education and patient empowerment.”

What We Do Wednesday | Meet Dr. Swain

April 20, 2016


Introducing “What We Do” Wednesdays on the Heart Blog! At First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, our patients are family. That’s why we want you to get to know the team caring for you. Every Wednesday, we’ll spotlight a different provider, service or initiative to share with you. This week, meet Dr. David Swain, one of our miracle workers when it comes to wound care. 

Dr. David Swain

Limb Salvage & Lower Extremity Wound Care

During his second year of college, Dr. Swain watched his grandfather go through the long and emotionally painful process of having diabetic ulcers, peripheral arterial disease, and a leg amputation.  It was at this time that Dr. Swain realized that helping people prevent leg amputations would be his life’s work.  

Dr. Swain attended the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in North Chicago, Illinois, and later completed a podiatric surgical residency at the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Swain also served as the Chief Resident in his final year and began presenting lectures on amputation prevention and limb preservation.  

One on one with Dr. Swain!

Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving?

I’ve already been bungee jumping before and I loved it, so I would do that again.

Describe your perfect weekend.

Play an early round of golf, go to a festival or arts market with my wife and children, grill out by the pool, and play my guitar with some friends late into the night.

What kind of phone was your first cell phone?

I resisted having a cell phone until 2003. My first phone was a tiny flip-top. It was so small, it was comical. It was the size of a Tic-Tac box!

Opinion Piece: Dr. Desmond Bell Discusses Changes to CMS Policy for Wound Care Treatments

July 10, 2015

In an opinion article for The Hill, Dr. Desmond Bell weighs in on a recent change to CMS policy, which will no longer cover medical-grade honey treatments for chronic wounds. Read the first paragraph below, and click over to the full article on

Dr. Desmond BellAbrupt CMS decision sets dangerous policymaking precedent for healthcare coverage

By Desmond Bell, DPM, CWS, Robert J. Snyder, DPM, MSc, CWS, Lee C Rogers, DPM

Imagine being told you have a condition with a higher mortality rate than many cancers, something that leads to amputation, impacts your quality of life, impairs your mobility, and negatively affects your family and caregivers. Now, imagine that a safe and effective therapy which has been used for years is no longer covered by Medicare. This is precisely what’s happening with medical-grade honey dressings and patients with chronic wounds.
Continue reading “Opinion Piece: Dr. Desmond Bell Discusses Changes to CMS Policy for Wound Care Treatments” »

2014: A Year of Growth

December 30, 2014

2014 was full of big milestones at First Coast Cardiovascular Institute. We continued to develop groundbreaking specialties, grow our team, and serve thousands of patients in Northeast Florida. Read about our biggest accomplishments below.

moussaThe first Chief Medical Officer outside of the hospital setting:
Issam Moussa, MD joined the team as FCCI’s first Chief Medical Officer. While the majority of Dr. Moussa’s time is spent seeing patients, he is also instrumental in developing educational programs for both physicians and patients. He will be working closely with the staff at FCCI on quality initiatives and improving the patient experience.

Continue reading “2014: A Year of Growth” »

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