Hear From Our Patients

We can tell you all the wonderful reasons you should come to University Health System. But the best way to know if University Health System is the right place for you is to hear from our patients. People just like you share inspiring personal stories of hope and healing.

Heart & Vascular Institute

Dr. Kristen Plastino – Heart Attack Survivor

Kristen Plastino - Cardiology PatientDoctor, wife, and mother of four, Kristen is used to caring for others. But in February 2011, a massive heart attack left her needing lifesaving care. Now, thanks to the quick action at University Hospital, she’s back to doing all the things she loves. Read her story

Gilbert Hernandez III – Pulmonary Valve Replacement Survivor

Medical Miracles Gala 2015 HonoreeGilbert had no idea he was making history 22 years ago. He was just 2 days old when Dr. John Calhoon repaired his heart. This complicated procedure had never been performed on such a tiny baby. He was given a 50-50 chance to live. Read his story.

University Transplant Center

Debra Aparicio – Pulmonary Fibrosis Survivor

Debra Aparicio - Lung transplant patientAn active duty army nurse in Germany, Debra found it difficult to complete her work because she was struggling to breathe. In the summer of 2002, she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and doctors gave her just two years to live. Read her story

Kevin King – Pulmonary Fibrosis Survivor

In the spring of 2008, Kevin was rapidly losing his battle with pulmonary fibrosis and was completely reliant on a portable oxygen tank. Today, Kevin is alive and breathing easier because a generous family allowed their deceased loved one to donate a lung to a complete stranger. Kevin’s story is also a testament to a team of transplant professionals who saw him through the complicated operation and the terrifying touch-and-go days that followed. Read his story.


Lourdes Lopez – Spine Cyst Survivor

Lourdes Lopez - Neurology PatientA very rare cyst in Lourdes’ spine was causing her so much pain, she began to pray she would die. She was unable to walk and did not know what to do or where to turn for treatment. Luckily, Lourdes’ daughter brought her to University Hospital. Read her story

Mark Ackerman – Brain Aneurysm Survivor

Mark Akerman - Brain Aneurysm SurvivorAfter his brain aneurysm, Mark was worried he would never be able to play the oboe again. Thanks to the excellent care he received at University Hospital and the Reeves Rehabilitation Center, his music sounds better than ever. Read his story

Trauma Center

Jonathan Esquivel – Car Crash Survivor

Jonathan Esquivel - Trauma SurvivorWhile working a collision on Loop 410, San Antonio officer Jonathan Esquivel was struck by a distracted driver. The impact caused extensive injuries, including a broken neck, shattered pelvis, crushed ankle, ruptured bladder, and some brain damage. Through years of hard work and recovery, he hopes to return to duty one day and possibly run a marathon. Read his story.

Leana Mendoza – Car Crash Survivor

Leana Mendoza - Pediatric Trauma PateintSix-year-old Leana Mendoza and her family couldn't have imagined a trip to the circus would result in Leana being airlifted to University Hospital to fight the greatest battle of her young life. It happened so quickly. They didn’t even see the other car jump the curb and plow into them. The Pediatric Trauma team knew Leana was in critical condition, but they knew what needed to be done to try and save her life. Read her story.

Abby Jack – Brain Injury Survivor

Six-month-old Abby was buckled in her car seat and on her way to Grandma's house. The last thing Rachel remembers was being stopped at a traffic light. She learned later that a seizure, related to those migraines, had caused her foot to hit the gas and sent her car straight into a large tree. Abby suffered a brain injury, and she spent the next three weeks in a medically induced coma in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital. Read her story.

Nicholas Velasquez – Car Crash Survivor

Nicholas proved many wrong when he stood on his own and took a first step several months after a car crash when he was six years old. It was a miraculous survival. Today, Nick is back at school, and he's not just walking – he’s running! Read his story.


Valeria Garcia – Liver Tumor Survivor

Valeria Garcia Despite being active in sports, 13-year-old Valeria had been noticing her stomach getting larger. When the pain became so intense and unbearable, she texted her mom to come get her. Turns out, she had a five-pound tumor in her ovary. She had surgery at another hospital to have the tumor removed, but when she went home to recover, "the worst" was just beginning. Read her story.

Larry Price – Cancer Survivor

Mark Akerman - Brain Aneurysm SurvivorUniversity Hospital is often the place where officers are brought after being injured in the line of duty. San Antonio Police Officer Larry Price's journey back to health, after having most of his esophagus surgically removed due to cancer, is inspiring. Read his story.

Drew Rice – Ewing’s Sarcoma Survivor

Drew on the pitcher's mound.Six-year-old Drew was in the backyard jumping on the trampoline when he injured his knee. What his parents thought was just a minor injury turned out to be the "unthinkable." A cancer tumor had been "hiding" behind his knee. And it was bad – Ewing's sarcoma, a very rare form of bone cancer. Read his story.

Reeves Rehabilitation Center

Jane Swanson – Shooting Survivor

Jane Swanson - 2007 Medical Miracles GalaJane was critically injured in a tragic workplace shooting. Jane was flown to the trauma center at University Hospital. She remained in critical condition in the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit for a month, then spent another month in the Reeves Rehabilitation Center at University Hospital. When Jane left the hospital two months after the shooting, she promised to educate the community about the importance of supporting University Hospital's Level I trauma program. Read her story.

Angela – Stroke Survivor

Reeves Rehab - Angela Case studyWhile on her way to work one morning, Angela had a stroke. Angela was able to start her recovery as part of the Reeves Rehabilitation Outpatient Brain Injury Day Program. Just eight months later, she was back to an active lifestyle.

Angela graduated from the program and has volunteered at University Hospital, giving back to the program that gave her so much. Learn more about our Rehabilitation Services

Albert – Motorcycle Crash Survivor

Reeves Rehab - Albert Case studyAlbert was hit by two cars while riding his motorcycle. He suffered many traumatic injuries, including the loss of his right arm. He was in a coma for two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital and then transferred to the Reeves Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit to begin his long road to recovery.

Once Albert went home from the hospital, he started the Outpatient Brain Injury Day Program. He graduated less than a year later. Just five years later, he graduated again; this time with his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Learn more about our Rehabilitation Services

Stephanie – Horseback Riding Accident Survivor

Reeves Rehab - Stephanie Case studyStephanie, a high school German teacher, was badly injured in a horseback riding accident. After three surgeries and several weeks in Intensive Care at University Hospital, Stephanie began treatment in the Reeves Rehabilitation Inpatient Unit. She continued her therapy in the Outpatient Brain Injury Day Program.

Her recovery was remarkable. Thanks to her hard work and motivated therapists, Stephanie returned to teaching and completed her first full year back in the classroom just two years after her accident. Learn more about our Rehabilitation Services