How was your experience with Antonio Gargiulo at Brigham & Women's Hospital?
Dr. Gargiulo had performed a myomectomy for one of my friends several years earlier. When I was diagnosed with multiple fibroids, she asked him whether he would consider consulting with me long distance (I reside in Virginia). He immediately said yes and provided his email address. We discussed my case via email and he ordered an MRI, which I obtained locally. He requested that I send a disc with the images so that he could evaluate my condition himself, rather than relying on the radiologist's report. He provided an assessment and recommendation (all remotely at no cost) but didn't pressure me to travel to Boston or make a decision. After nine months' hesitation, I opted to move forward with surgery (laparoscopic robotic myomectomy). Dr. Gargiulo never criticized or commented on the delay, other than ordering a new MRI to ensure that he fully understood the fibroids current state. He and his staff quickly arranged both a half-day of pre-op appointments across the hospital (so that I would only have to be in Boston for one day) and a surgery date. When I finally met Dr. Gargiulo in person, he was welcoming, kind and cheerful. He walked me through the MRI images and thoroughly explained what the surgery would entail and possible additional elective procedures (but with no pressure to authorize them). My uterus was riddled with fibroids, three of which were the size of a small fist; unlike my regular gynecologist, he never suggested a hysterectomy. His entire focus was to preserve my uterus, even though at my age a spontaneous pregnancy is extremely unlikely. On the day of surgery, he stopped in to chat during my prep (he hadn't even changed into scrubs yet), spoke with my mother immediately after surgery, and came back once I was reasonably coherent. He took the time to remove more tumors than originally planned and, when he discovered adhesions holding my ovaries and fallopian tubes to the pelvic wall, removed them. He accelerated my post-op appointment by a few days so that I could return to Virginia more quickly (though I am certain he would have requested I stay had I not been healing well). During that appointment, he went over all of my surgery's details, offered images of the procedure and discussed potential pregnancy options. At all times, he was kind, thorough, patient and positive. He never condescended or tried to rush me; he never tried to badger me into making a particular choice.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Antonio Gargiulo at Brigham & Women's Hospital?
Don't hesitate to ask questions via email or in person. He will answer all of them completely and in a timely fashion.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Antonio Gargiulo at Brigham & Women's Hospital?
I live in Virginia. A friend in Boston recommended Dr. Gargiulo to me. He and his staff went out of their way to accommodate me as an out-of-state patient. Dr. Gargiulo and each member of his staff and surgical team were kind, thoughtful and thoroughly familiar with my personal circumstances, while being both extremely efficient and flexible. I dithered regarding surgery for nine months, with no pressure from Dr. Gargiulo. Once I made up my mind, he and his staff went into fifth gear to make it happen on the timeline that best suited my personal (long-distance) circumstances.
Describe the protocols Antonio Gargiulo used in your cycles at Brigham & Women's Hospital and their degree of success.
I only pursued removal of fibroid tumors. Dr. Gargiulo wanted a current MRI to ensure that he fully understood the landscape before arriving in the O.R. Because I had delayed making a decision for almost nine months, that meant getting a second set of images. I have good insurance so it wasn't an issue. He predicted he would remove the three largest tumors but ended up taking out seven, which together weighed almost a pound and were five times the size of my uterus. My menstrual cycle is no longer debilitating; my abdomen has returned to being flat; and I've lost about 8 lbs (taking my rather old body back to what I weighed 25 years ago!). If I choose to become pregnant, Dr. Gargiulo strongly recommended I deliver via C-section.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
All but one of the nurses were compassionate and patient, even when I was admittedly cranky and brusque. My bladder didn't "wake up" properly after surgery. The post-op nurses stayed well into the early evening to give my body time to right itself, and tried every trick to get my bladder functioning. Unfortunately, nothing worked so, in order to be released from the hospital rather than staying overnight, I had to agree to retaining the catheter. By the next afternoon when I returned to Dr. Gargiulo's clinic to see whether the catheter could be removed, I was not the most pleasant person. (Whatever anyone else says, I can affirm that a catheter is really uncomfortable!) The nurses and the P.A. were nonetheless kind and calm. They acknowledged my discomfort -- which one post-op nurse had downplayed, really ticking me off. I greatly appreciated their willingness to recognize that the catheter was causing pain, and the true sympathy they showed. That type of care makes all the difference.
Describe your experience with Brigham & Women's Hospital.
Dr. Gargiulo's surgical coordinator is outstanding. I live in Virginia, which presented challenges to obtaining care in Boston. The surgical coordinator accommodated my situation flawlessly. She planned all of my pre-op appointments across the hospital for a single afternoon (I could have flown home that evening had I wanted to); and provided a surgery date during the winter holiday season that ensured Dr. Gargiulo could do my post-op check-up at the 10-day mark, allowing me to return to Virginia and trim expenses (we stayed in an Air BnB about a half-mile from BWH). The surgical coordinator was very responsive by both phone and email. I didn't see any clinic weaknesses but I likely had less interaction than patients with more complex fertility issues.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Antonio Gargiulo at Brigham & Women's Hospital.
All appointments, surgery and medicine were covered by my insurance with relatively small co-pays (combined, less than $600). I did notice on a co-pay statement that the stated non-negotiated cost for the laparoscopic robotic myomectomy was $61,000.