The couple started the laborious process of moving toward surgery. She carried a notebook to doctor appointments. She kept detailed notes on every question asked. Her files filled up with Melvin’s office visit print-outs, pictures of his brain and countless test results.
During the same year, unbeknownst to the Turners, Tavanaiepour guided the opening of the first Skull Base Surgery Center in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
The stellar medical team conducts leading-edge research and clinical trials. Their diverse knowledge collectively extends into neurosurgery, head and neck surgery, proton therapy, neuroradiology, neuropathology, endocrinology, otolaryngology, neuro-ophthalmology, radiation and medical oncology.
Once a week, the cast of specialists sit down at a conference table and review patient records to consider best options from every angle.
“This is a game changer,” Tavanaiepour said. “We put all the doctors at one table, interact live and come up with solutions. Mr. Turner is one specific beneficiary of that.”
The facility’s opening and Melvin’s tumor discovery were each about a year old when Joan came home from the store and found her husband on his knees. Like many times before, she tried helping him up. This time, however, he toppled over.
“A voice in my head said, ‘Call 911. He’s stroking. Call 911.’”
An ambulance rushed Melvin to UF Health North. Imaging revealed worrisome tumor results. Staff whisked Melvin off to UF Health Jacksonville. He flatlined on the way, but made it.
“Mrs. Turner was very caring of her husband,” Tavanaiepour said, crediting Joan’s quick action with saving Melvin that day. “She’s thorough, intelligent and very insightful with her questions.”