The Muñoz Family Thank You Letter

Published on: 04/05/2019

Dear Dr. Ragheb and Dr. Niazi,

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing support and care you gave to our Olivia. We appreciate your quick action, your compassion, your expert knowledge, and your caution in her recovery post-op. Dr. Ragheb, when I first met you, Olivia and I were thousands of miles away from our home and missing out on our family vacation. However, when you identified the source of Olivia’s ongoing abscess as a dermal sinus tract with a tethered spinal cord, it was well worth the circumstances under which we met. My first impressions of you were someone with a clear vision, extremely knowledgeable, caring, and well liked and respected by your colleagues. Most importantly, someone willing to coordinate care across the country for Olivia.

There were two things that solidified these impressions:

  1. When you called me after I sent you Olivia’s MRI to review. I had a gut feeling that her MRI read was missing the critical piece you mentioned when you first saw Olivia; the dermal sinus tract. You confirmed that gut feeling. You had NOTHING to gain by calling me to discuss her MRI except just to help.
  2. When Olivia continued to get sicker from her abscess and we couldn’t find the help and resources we needed at home, we called your office. It was the weekend before Christmas. And you said, “Come.”

You’re a person with a big-heart, a neurosurgeon that has not only the knowledge but the big-picture thinking and compassion to reduce barriers in patient care. You can tell what you do is more than a job. It’s a passion. (I think my husband thought I was making up how wonderful you are —but when he stayed in Miami with Olivia the final week we were there, I started getting gushing calls about you! Ha!).

Dr. Niazi, Dr. Ragheb placed us in your care when we arrived in Miami, the day before Christmas Eve. I was terrified!  What if you didn’t share the same vision of Olivia’s needs and case as Dr. Ragheb?  I CANNOT express in words the sense of tremendous relief I felt in hearing you say seven little words:

“We’re going to take care of you.”

Oh. My. Word. And then you took her to surgery on Christmas Eve. You took action. You didn’t wait for a time that was more convenient to you. You did not perform another round of 100 different tests. GOD BLESS you for that. You knew what she needed and you took action. And that’s when I understood why your neurosurgery team is one of the best in the USA. Because it’s a culture of caring. Of reducing barriers for patients. Of doing the right thing. And that kind of culture is hard to find. I found you to be just as kind, knowledgeable, and respected as Dr. Ragheb.

After surgery, we fully expected to be sent home with a plan to complete a course of IV antibiotics and antifungals. However, you kept Olivia until you felt confident she was in the clear. Even after we went home —even weeks after surgery— you stayed connected to our family and coordinated with our pediatrician. You had every opportunity to pass the baton. And it would have been tremendously easier for you to do so. But you didn’t. Dr. Niazi, words cannot express our gratitude.

So often in the healthcare world there are tremendous barriers to getting the care you need. Thank you both for showing us it doesn’t need to be that way. Thank you for showing us that experts can work as a coordinated team and get cohesive care with excellent outcomes. You two are amazing physicians, but even more amazing people. Felix and I are forever grateful to have met you both. If Olivia could talk, she’d say the same thing.

Much love and many blessings from the Midwest,
The Muñoz Family

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