Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) has a new chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery– Dr. Thomas Yeh, Jr. Dr. Yeh has also been named director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Heart Center at CHoR.
Dr. Yeh, who joined the faculty on October 1, was previously affiliated with Pediatric Heart Center, Tulane University Hospital and Clinic. After receiving his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University, he completed his Ph.D. and general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery residencies at VCU Medical Center, then completed a pediatric cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto.
“Dr. Yeh is a nationally renowned congenital heart surgeon who has extensive experience in all aspects of surgery for children with heart conditions. His recruitment was an important milestone and due to close collaboration between Children’s Hospital Foundation and VCU Medical Center,” says Dr. Vigneshwar Kasirajan, chair of the VCU Department of Surgery. “He will raise the quality of care delivered to children in Virginia and make CHoR an important destination for complex cardiovascular care.”
In December, CHoR received a $28 million gift from Children’s Hospital Foundation, the single largest gift to pediatric health care in VCU’s history, to establish the Children’s Hospital Foundation Heart Center at CHoR. VCU Medical Center has supplemented the gift with a $14 million commitment toward equipment and operations.
“I was at VCU for 13 years during my medical training, and I’ve always wanted VCU to have a strong congenital heart program. So when the Children’s Hospital Foundation, VCU and CHoR came together to envision a world-class pediatric heart program, and offered me a chance to get back to my alma mater, I couldn’t resist,” says Dr. Yeh.
He is pleased to return to VCU. “It has always been a dynamic and exciting environment,” he says. “There is great nursing here, great doctors, eager beaver medical students and residents, and a fantastic infrastructure in terms of the labs, radiology, all the kinds of high-tech bells and whistles that you would like a great medical center to have.”
He adds that “I’m humbled by the incredible support of Children’s Hospital Foundation and VCU Medical Center. It is an honor to provide cardiac care to children and families in Central Virginia and to give back to one of the institutions that was so fundamental to my training.”
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In January, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Gabor Bagameri returned from a 3 ½–month deployment with the U.S. Army Green Berets in Afghanistan. “I went as a general surgeon with a forward surgical team in the Afghan mountains in a remote special forces camp,” he says.
Originally from Hungary, Dr. Bagameri joined the reserve in 2010 and made a six-year commitment in exchange for U.S. citizenship. He joined the VCU faculty last June and was deployed in September.
“I am happy to be back with my family and the work I really enjoy. After being deployed and in harm’s way, I appreciate the small gifts and pleasures life has to offer and not taking everything for granted,” he says. “I have the utmost respect for U.S. military members who are away from their families, fulfilling their missions at the highest standards and willing to sacrifice their lives without thinking about it twice.”
Now that Dr. Bagameri has returned, he is working in the structural heart program and also developing a new aortic disease program along with colleagues in vascular surgery, radiology, cardiology and genetics. “As a surgeon, he has unique skills in vascular and cardiac surgery, and is board-certified in both,” says Dr. Vigneshwar Kasirajan, chair of VCU Department of Surgery. As for his service, “We are very proud of his contributions to the armed forces and fully support him in this critical role.”