Cardiac Rehab Puts Utah Man Back on the Hiking Trail after 2nd Open Heart Surgery

Welster Santos couldn’t figure out why he was feeling so sluggish. He was an active 68-year-old guy who loved going on extensive three-day hikes with a group of buddies, a few his age and a few “youngins in their 50s.”

U Health Experts Get Utah Man's Irregular Heartbeat Back Under Control

In his late 20s, Parker Donat was an active guy known for his dedicated gym routine. By age 33, he was struggling to keep up with his wife Kristi during hikes—even when she had their small son strapped to her chest. Parker couldn’t figure out why he was always “dogging it.” But he’d had the symptoms for years and didn’t think much about it.

Utah Man Has a Second Chance at Life after Devastating Accident

It was one of those cold October mornings where everything was frozen in ice. Alec McMorris, a construction worker, left his house for work and headed straight up Parleys Canyon on I-80 east. He was following his cousin in his car when he saw the vehicle hit the guardrail and come to complete stop. McMorris’ first reaction? To get out of his car and make sure his cousin was okay.

26-Year-Old Goes from Sudden Heart Failure to Transplant Success Story

It was a beautiful Saturday in Elko, Nevada when Ashley Biehl had her first softball practice of the season. It was on the bike ride home that Ashley started to feel overwhelming pain between her shoulder blades. She dismissed it as “first-day-of-practice” soreness. But at home, the pain intensified, moving down her arms. “I knew something wasn’t right."

Inspirational Comeback Story Powered by Determination & a Dedicated Team

In summer 2016, Will began to notice some changes in his body. Lately he hadn’t been able to run very fast, or far or long, and he began to experience weakness and numbness in his left leg below his knee. When it got to the point where he couldn’t even walk a block without having to stop, he knew something was wrong. “This isn't right" he thought.

Speedskating Champion is Right at Home in Utah

Speedskating’s latest phenom is not what you would expect. At just 18 years old, standing 5 feet 6 inches tall, Maame Biney is the first African American woman to represent the United States in speedskating at a Winter Olympic Games. Under the searing spotlight of the Olympic stage, Maame carries the weight of not only bringing home a medal for the United States, but also representing her home country of Ghana.

Paralympian Gets Renewed Lease on Competition with Knee Replacement

After 8 weeks in the hospital, 13 operations, and 6 months of bed rest, the efforts to save Jeff Sena’s leg were all in vain. In April 1991, the medical team conceded that amputation was the only option. Three months later, Jeff was back on crutches with his prosthetic leg.

Mitch Whitmore Proves Being an Olympian Requires More than Physical Strength

Since the age of nine, Mitch Whitmore dreamed about representing his country on the world’s biggest athletic stage, the Olympic Games. He has already competed in two Olympics in the sport of speedskating, but the 2018 Games are his last chance to compete for a place on the podium and bring home a medal.

Paralympic Champion has Her Eyes Set on 2018 Success

Olympic athletes have to be at the top of their abilities when it comes time to compete. University of Utah Health is dedicated to treating these athletes as part of the National Medical Network for the United States Olympic Committee. Doctors like Christopher Gee, MD, will treat athletes like Oksana Masters.

Adventure Junkie Turns to Ortho Specialist to Keep Active Lifestyle

After Jameson Harper dedicated four years of his life to rowing in the hopes of qualifying for the United States Men’s Rowing Team and didn’t, he relocated from New Jersey to Park City, Utah. Not making the team turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he took up rock climbing, skiing, trail running and other outdoor activities he missed because of training and living on the east coast.

Woman's Unexpected Diagnosis Results in Specialized Surgery at Local Hospital

Tracee Bessinger thought it was a little strange when one day she ran out of breath walking from her bedroom to her bathroom. She figured maybe she was just out of shape, but the breathlessness continued with even less exertion and fewer steps. “Maybe I’m coming down with cold,” she thought. Her doctor thought maybe she had asthma.

Young Athlete Returns to the Field Thanks to Ortho Specialty Care

There has never been a time that 13-year-old Heath Winchester doesn’t remember playing soccer. As soon as he could walk, he played soccer with his two older siblings; by the time he was four, he was a high-scorer on his neighborhood recreation team; and by the time he was nine, he had moved on to the competition league.

When a Routine Knee Replacement is Anything but Routine

Kelly Beck was an active 48-year-old who enjoyed an extremely active lifestyle. So active that his normal routine included basketball and racquetball, three times per week, interspersed with snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, biking and running. His knees eventually wore out, and in 2009 he decided it was time for a double knee replacement.

Rare Aneurysm Condition Cured with Cutting-Edge Surgery

Marcia Waggoner’s primary care doctor had never seen anything like it. The 76-year-old from St. George tried showing the CT scan to her son, a radiology tech, who passed it along to the team of physicians he works with.

Life-altering Accident Doesn't Keep Dustin from Living Life—or Starting a Family

When Dustin Godnick was in a car accident that shattered his spine at age 17, his life changed in more ways than he ever could have predicted. Godnick says he, like many teenagers, had lost his way. “I was wild,” he says “I had lost interest in sports and school.”

Quick Diagnosis of Aortic Dissection Gives Wyoming Man a New Lease on Life

Just hours earlier, Matthew York had been a happy groom vowing to honor his new wife Evelyn. By 5am of the following morning, he was reaching out to her as she slept by his side, pleading that she save his life.

A Mysterious Medical Condition Solved Leads to a Second Chance at Life

Nothing helped boost Justin Ripplinger’s energy level—not even a good night’s rest. The construction worker was always exhausted, and it was getting worse. Eventually, he could barely drag his weakened body from his front door to his vehicle in the morning—let alone perform the other physically demanding tasks his job required.

In a Split Second, Man Risks His Life to Save Stranger

They say life can change in an instance. No one knows that more than Keenan Pearson. On his way home from work one stormy October night, Keenan lost control of his vehicle. As he careened into another car that had also spun out due to the slippery road conditions, his first thought was to ensure that the other driver was safe.

The Road to Healing: One Year Later

It’s been one year since the bombings at Brussels Airport brought Pam and Richard Norby’s mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to a violent end 11 months early. Richard had been dropping off missionaries at the airport when he fell amidst the chaos and smoke with a broken left leg, broken left foot, and severe burns.

Dres Empey & Mason Wells: Coming Home to Heal

Amber Empey’s son was the last person she expected to hear from on the morning of March 22, 2016. Elder Joseph “Dres” Empey still had three months remaining of his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but, all of a sudden, his familiar voice was on the line.

Mom's Intuition Leads to Rare Diagnosis

Canyon River Orion Hansen was a special baby. Of course, all babies are special to their parents. And some babies, like Canyon, are born with a cleft palette, which affects their breathing and swallowing. But Breana Woodruff, Canyon’s mom, spent night after night awake in fear of her newborn son’s weight dropping and airways closing.

Former inpatient becomes key member of Mobile Crisis Outreach Team

When Meigan Berry wakes up in the morning, she doesn’t know where her job might take her. A park? A homeless shelter? A CEO’s corner office? As a peer specialist at University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT), Berry pays visits to Salt Lake County residents facing mental health challenges.

Ann’s Story: A busy mom learns to prioritize her own health

Ann Casaday is a lot of things to a lot of people. She’s a wife of 31 years to husband Kelly, a busy mother of five, a pharmacy technician, a volunteer in her church, schools and community; the list goes on and on.

Lynn Clark/Liver Transplant

It’s been a long 36 years for Lynn Clark, 57, who has felt “rundown and exhausted” for much of his adulthood. His troubles began after a car accident in 1980 led him to a blood transfusion. He wouldn’t discover until 2005 that the plasma was contaminated with hepatitis C, which caused end-stage liver disease. He’d need a transplant to survive.

Merrill Oaks/Amyloidosis

Retired ophthalmologist Merrill Oaks was enjoying an active life and spending time with his family when he started to experience symptoms of kidney failure at 77. Josephine Abraham, MD, a nephrologist with University of Utah Health, ordered a kidney biopsy and diagnosed a plasma cell disorder called amyloidosis.

Dona Osterhout/Amyloidosis

Dona Osterhout of Paul, Idaho was only 48 when she noticed that she was having a hard time keeping up when she and her family were out hiking and biking. “At first, I just thought it was just my aging and getting out of shape,” recalls the grandmother. Eventually, she could barely walk and knew it was time to seek medical attention.

Sondra Kunes/Amyloidosis

In February 2014, Sondra Kunes was feeling a little more fatigued than usual. A 24-hour urine test showed she was excreting a lot of protein, so Mrs. Kunes went to a nephrologist for a kidney biopsy. Her results showed that a condition called amyloidosis was causing nephrotic syndrome, reducing her kidneys’ ability to filter and hold on to proteins.

Brian McKenna

Brian McKenna’s life was changed by a bike accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. With help from University of Utah Health's Rehabilitation Center, McKenna pushed his limits, learning how to stand, breathe, and live an ordinary life again. His remarkable story came to the attention of Ellen DeGeneres and football player Drew Brees.

Gus / Airmed

What began as an ordinary morning for one family became their worst nightmare in the blink of an eye. One Northern Utah family shares how a University of Utah Health AirMed nurse’s commitment saved their little boys life.

Amy Oliver / PKU kids

Many parents can relate to the struggle to make sure their children eat a proper diet. But it is an all-consuming affair for Amy and Brian Oliver, who have two kids with a rare genetic condition called Phenylketonuria (PKU).

Ulla Brunner/Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction

While leading groups on the high ropes course at Adventure Park Moab in eastern Utah, Ulla Brunner knows that giving information is the best way to lead people to step out of their comfort zones and face their fears.

Roberto, Paraplegic Patient Story

Roberto explains what it means to be a patient at the University of Utah Health, and how staff and doctors from the rehabilitation program helped him embrace life after his accident.

Sarah, Paraplegic Patient Story

An ATV accident left Sarah paralyzed from the waist down. Rewalk technology is helping her get back on her feet. Hear her story in her own words.

His & Hers Knee Replacements

There are couples that do everything together. Vince and Shirley Bodily took it one step further though, and got their knee replacements done on the same day.

Good Samaritan University of Utah Health Doctor Saves Fallen Biker

After falling on black ice in the road while riding her bike, Chris Fraizer knew she was in danger, until a U of U Health doctor saved the day and brought her to University of Utah Hospital.

Burn Crisis Brightened Through Holiday Cheer

The Taylor's holiday season was flipped upside down when 5-year-old Ivy was rushed to University of Utah Health's Burn Center after catching fire at a birthday party.

Hip Recall Brings Dallas Patient to Utah

Cars, toys, food: these are all typical items that are recalled when something goes wrong. But what happens when your hip implant is recalled? Kat Hoppa of Dallas, TX, turned to University of Utah Health.

On the Move to Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

Nothing, not even Rheumatoid Arthritis, could stop Nancy Haacke from staying active. Nancy began to search for a healthcare system that would value her opinions. University of Utah Health was her destination and thankfully her search ended there.

A Lifesaving Flight

November 16, 2012 is a day Tayton’s mother will never forget. Tayton, who was 7 years old at the time, was one of four young boys who were burned after a gas can caught fire in Perry, Utah. After being sent to the Burn Center, Tayton is thriving as a young burn survivor.

Giving Hope, Healing a Heart

H.E. Smith’s cardiologist told him to go home and get his affairs in order. “I went to a funeral home and made all of my arrangements,” said Smith, 72. That was nine years ago.

Iron Dean

Dean Bullock woke up to a new world, in which the father of nine, devoted husband, and aspiring Iron Man had brain cancer. Because of an integrated clinical trials program, Bullock qualified for cutting-edge treatments for this aggressive tumor. 


Brian Hultman had raced the grueling 206-mile LOTOJA course (from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming) nine times before the race on September 7, 2013. Found on the side of the course by a Wyoming State Trooper, the then-45-year-old had suffered a major stroke caused by a blood clot in his brain.

Aneurysm Patient Plays Tennis Two Weeks After Surgery

The ER doctor had good news for retired Marine officer Darrell Parkin: the head pain that brought him to his local hospital in Bountiful, Utah wasn’t a stroke. But after getting an MRI, Darrell's neurosurgeon told Darrell he had an aneurysm. 

Exceptional Patient Experience—Austin Chappell

In December 2012, University of Utah student Austin Chappell started feeling sick. Shortly thereafter he noticed a bump near his collarbone, which became extremely painful. An X-ray at a local clinic found nothing unusual, and Chappell was sent away with medication to help him sleep.

Kidney Exchange Connects Strangers Through Life-saving Donations

How do you pay it forward? One Good Samaritan was inspired to help a stranger—any stranger. In the end it wasn’t one life he saved—but three. His kind gesture completed a kidney donation chain between patients at University of Utah Health.

Paralympic Champion Turns to University of Utah Health for Pain Relief

At a young age, Muffy Davis was a promising athlete who was on the road to her first Winter Olympic games when her hopes were dashed in a near-fatal ski accident that left her paralyzed from the mid-chest down.

Heart procedure returns Nevada man to his "get up and go" lifestyle

In March 2012, Bill Deist came down with a simple, run-of-the-mill cold. When his symptoms lasted for months, he went to see a doctor. What he discovered was a rare case in which a cold virus had begun to attack his heart.

Johns Hopkins executive praises University of Utah Health for daughter's medical treatment

Kate Gragnolati was ready to start a new chapter in life when she moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming after graduating college on the east coast in 2011.

Kaysville engineer, family man back to enjoying life after kidney scare

For a second, Steven Hadfield wondered if he had been shot: “I had this terrible pain in my back, like someone had shot me.” He wondered if he had kidney stones. “I handed my car keys to my friend and said ‘Get me to University of Utah Hospital.’”

Exceptional Patient—Allen Elmore

Allen Elmore worried about the possibility of having a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implanted into his heart, but when the 62-year-old New Mexico man suffered a heart attack, he was left with few options. Elmore came to U of U Health in May 2013, where he had an LVAD procedure.

With the help of University of Utah Health's Dermatology Services, Childs has regained the simple joys of life

Imagine a life where dancing or bending down to tie your shoe is virtually impossible. That's the life Teralin Childs lived...

Concussion Treatment Helps Cheerleader Get Back in the Game

No one suspected sophomore Kylie Morris had a concussion. She wasn't knocked unconscious after receiving an accidental kick to the forehead while practicing a tumbling pass for a new cheerleading routine. “I just figured I had a headache,” says Kylie.

BYU Coach Survives Pancreatic Cancer, Praises Huntsman Cancer Institute for Exceptional Care

On a flight from California to Las Vegas, BYU basketball head coach Dave Rose became ill, feeling so dizzy and lightheaded that he wasn't able to sit up. Paramedics took him from the plane directly to the hospital where the doctors discovered a tumor in Dave's stomach and proceeded to remove it along with his spleen, a portion of his pancreas, and nearby lymph nodes.

Outpatient Surgery Restores Young Mother's Hearing

Severe hearing loss wasn't a condition that Heather Simonsen expected as a side effect of pregnancy. Yet, after the birth of her third child, the gradual hearing loss she had been experiencing over several years suddenly became acute, resulting in deafness in her left ear. She couldn’t understand speech, distinguish sounds, or even hear her newborn cry.

Teen with High Cholesterol Gets Healthy with Help from Family Pediatrician

At a regular checkup to see her family pediatrician, 13-year old Danielle Martinez learned that her cholesterol levels were dangerously high. With triglycerides at 460, she was more than 300 points above the recommended level for a healthy adult. And worse, if Danielle didn't lower her cholesterol, she would likely develop type 2 diabetes within a few short months.

Doctor's Innovation Makes Life-Changing Surgery Available to Heart Patient

While hiking in Peru with her husband and children, Michele Straube stopped at every switchback, wheezing and feeling dizzy. Although she was trim and athletic, uphill climbs proved especially difficult for her, often leaving her lagging behind the group or requiring her to stop and catch her breath.

Emergency & Rehabilitation Care Helps Young Woman Recover from Serious Accident

"The first thing I remember is waking up in a hospital bed on an elevator with my mom, my sister, and a doctor," says 20-year-old Abigayle Ottley. "The doctor asked me if I knew where I was, who I was, and what had happened. The only thing I knew is who I was."

Fire Marshal's Dream of Becoming a Mother Comes True

Martha Ellis was in her late thirties when she married her husband Jeff, and having children was important to her. Martha and Jeff looked to the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine for help, where doctors recommended an in vitro fertilization treatment called an intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Double Hand Amputee Learns to Use Prosthetic Hands with Help from Occupational Therapist

In December 2010, Sam Matagi's life changed forever when he lost both his hands in an electrical accident while working as a power lineman in Colorado. Nearly 15,000 volts of electricity surged through his body, leaving his hands irreversibly damaged.

Young Skin Cancer Survivor Promotes Sun Safety

MaryAnn Gerber loved the way she looked with a tan. As a teenager, she visited a tanning salon almost every week. A few years later she noticed a pink mole on her face. The look of it bothered her, so she visited a plastic surgeon to have it removed, only to discover it was a malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Local Artist Overcomes OCD Symptoms Through Treatment & Therapeutic Creativity

Fifteen years ago, 79-year-old Howard Clark fought—and beat—prostate cancer. He knew he was lucky to be alive, but after fighting for his life, something changed in Howard's mind and spirit. It was something he couldn't explain, let alone understand.

Head Trauma Treatment Helps Utah Woman Get Back on Her Feet

"It was just two days before Thanksgiving, November 23, 2010. I was outside and I just don't know how I fell." That was the last thing Nancy McKane remembered. It would be several days later when she found out she had lost consciousness after a brain injury.

Moab Stroke Patient Makes Miraculous Recovery Thanks to TeleStroke

In the middle of a warm June night in 2010, Robert Russell awoke to a tingling sensation in his left arm. He thought perhaps his arm had gone to sleep, until he realized his left leg was also tingling. “I was pretty sure I was having a stroke.”

David Entwistle: Former CEO & Patient

David Entwistle is the former CEO of University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics; on May 23, 2009, he also became a patient. It's a day he'll never forget, but ironically it's also a day he simply can't remember. It all started with the Stansbury Park triathlon.

Physical Therapist Is Back On the Podium After Hip Replacement

Paul LaStayo, PhD, PT, CHT, is a competitive cyclist, but when his chronic hip pain got so bad, he could no longer compete. That’s when he turned to Chris Peters, MD, at the University Orthopaedic Center, who conducted a total hip replacement surgery. And now, with his pain completely gone, Paul is back on the podium to winning.

Eye Treatment Preserves Professor's Sight & Quality of Life

Thirty-five years ago, Professor Edward Lueders was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the number one blinding eye disease in older adults. Although there is not yet a cure for AMD, the effects of the disease can be slowed with intervention and treatment.

Cancer Patient Beats Odds, Rides 667 Miles for Huntsman Cancer Institute

On December 26, 2000, Jeff Warren received devastating news: He had stage 4 head and neck cancer, which gave him a 0—25 percent chance to live five years. Jeff went through four months of cutting-edge treatment, which included three surgeries, radiation, and several doses of chemotherapy.

Patient Sings Again Thanks to Vocal Chord Surgery & Therapy

Lonnie Stevens loved to sing and was often complemented on her beautiful soprano voice until four years ago when congestion, inflammation, and swelling in her throat left her short of breath and unable to hold a tone. Singing became difficult and her high notes became squeaks.

U Doctor Helps Pro Superbike Racer Get Back On His Bike

Superbike racer Shane Turpin normally rides his sport bike on a smooth asphalt track, but in February 2010, he went to a Tooele motocross track with some friends for a fun afternoon spent riding dirt bikes. When he took a jump and landed badly, the result was a freak accident that left him with broken legs and crushed ankles.

A Woman's Good Gesture Leads to a Chain of Kidney Donations

What began as a routine trip to the sandwich shop led to a life changing moment for more than a dozen strangers from various walks of life. "I didn't expect it at all. It was amazing when it happened," said Kalynn Olsen.

In Vitro Fertilization Helps Couple Become a Family

Melissa and Sam Olson always wanted children. However, their attempts to conceive had been unsuccessful due to a condition called endometriosis. Melissa found about her condition soon after marrying Sam, but she still hoped that one day she would be able to have a child.

High-Risk Liver & Valve Transplant Surgery a Success Thanks to U Doctors

Joe Yanez was a high school junior in 1966 when he suffered an appendicitis attack. He was taken to the hospital unconscious and when he awakened, Yanez learned his attack was so serious he needed a blood transfusion.

Huntsman Cancer Institute Team Helps Get Swimmer Back in the Water

On Thursday, December 13, 2012, Goody Tyler IV stood at water's edge of the Salt Lake Marina, stripped down to a Speedo, cap and goggles, waded into the 41-degree water, and started swimming. Four days later, Tyler started his first round of chemotherapy for testicular cancer.

A Team of Doctors Helps a Young Family Defy Odds

It was the day they had waited for an ultrasound was going to reveal whether their baby would come home in a pink or blue blanket. But after learning they would be the parents of baby boy, Frank and Julia Wentz were told he had multiple heart tumors. "It was our worst fear becoming a reality," says Julia.

Lupus Patient Thrives Because of Top-Notch Care

Henry Garza knew his daughter Rachael wasn't well, but doctors didn't know what to make of the long bouts of fevers, fatigue, and swelling she was experiencing. After many visits to the ER, Rachael, then 17-years old, was diagnosed with lupus—a complex autoimmune disease.