Community Medical Centers provides state of the art care right here in the Valley, so patients don’t need to travel elsewhere for treatment.

As one local attorney found, when he had a rare and complicated health issue, the medical staff at Stanford Health Care recommended he stay in Fresno to be treated at Community Regional Medical Center.

Attorney Tony Capozzi has been defending others in court for years. But in November of 2020, he found he was the one who needed help after being diagnosed with a rare condition.

Tony said, “What scared me is when my doctor said, ‘I have never seen this before.’ I said, boy oh this could be really serious and it was… This other pain was constant.”

Colon and rectal surgeon Dr. John Garry said Tony had a routine colonoscopy months prior when they found benign polyps, “But interestingly in the upper rectum sigmoid colon and descending colon there were some really large unusual blood vessels.”

Dr. Garry explains, Tony had an arteriovenous malformation in his lower abdomen. AVM is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting the arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation.

“This was highly unusual and therefore reviewed the films again as I said with Dr. Venugopal and I wanted to have him to do a visceral angiogram, looking at all the blood vessels that supply the GI tract,” stated Dr. Garry.

Dr. Chandra Venugopal is a interventional radiologist at Community Regional. Dr. Venugopal said there are different kinds of AVM, “And depending on what kind it is, some of them are treatable by just putting material through that same catheter to plug up the blood flow to the arteriovenous malformation. But, some of them are too complex, and if you put the material there it’s just gonna run through the AVM and then go to the liver and then damage the liver instead of fixing this abnormal connection.”

Dr. Garry suggested his colleagues at Stanford take a look at Tony’s case. But they too had never seen anything like it. They advised Tony to continue receiving care from Dr. Garry and his team at Community Regional.

Tony underwent a nine hour surgery to remove the mass of vessels, with Dr. Garry, Dr. Venugopal, Dr. Larry Sue, and a resident physician at his side.

“As soon as we opened the abdomen we had an encounter of this massive abnormal appearing mezzentary and tissue that just filled our entire incision,” said Dr. Garry.

Tony recalls when he went in for his life changing surgery.

He cried, “I went in, I felt good. I kinda got teary eyed before I went in, but after it was over, he came into the recovery room and said, I think it was the next day I’m not sure, I was out of it, but he says it went well.”

Tony spent eleven days recovering in the hospital, with reassurance of hope from Dr. Garry.

“As the days went on, he said it’s working, it’s just gonna take time. And it did. I said I put my trust in you, and as the days went on, it got better and better, and the tubes started coming out, and I felt 100-percent better,” continued Tony.

Tony was so grateful for the excellent care he received, he decided to honor his entire healthcare team through Community’s “Honor Your Care Hero” program.

“What was so endearing to me is to have these healthcare workers come in, the nurses come in, and do the work that they do, it’s not easy,” Tony said.

He gave each staff member that cared for him a printed certificate with a personal thank you message. Tony also gave a monetary donation.

He ended, “Just because you have an illness or you have something that is bothering you that you don’t think the doctors here in Fresno can do it, think twice about that because they can… They have the personnel here and the expertise to take care of you.”

Tony said he feels great and healthy today, all thanks to the staff at Community Regional.

You can honor anyone who works for Community Medical Centers as a Care Hero. If you’d like more information about the Care Hero program, click here.