Emergency Surgery In Tulsa Leads To New Life


Thursday, February 13th 2020, 1:02 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper


Hector Casiano has been on his new job for about 5 months now.

Working at OU Physicians surgical specialists in Tulsa, Casiano helps the office with patients who come in.

"I get their paperwork ready, answer phone calls, scheduling, take various payments," said Casiano.

But less than a year ago, Casiano was on the other side of the counter.

Casiano, who's also diabetic, was working as a valet driver last summer and says one of his toes became infected. With no insurance, he kept putting the injury off, until it became just too painful.

"Went to the doctor and from there it was like, you have to go to the ER,” said Casiano. “And I asked how bad is it? Scale of 1-10, and he said it's a 10, go now."

At the emergency room, he met vascular surgeon Dr. Kelly Kempe.

"Hector had a diabetic foot infection,” said Dr. Kempe. “It became very serious and severe."

Dr. Kempe amputated the infected toe and was able to stop the infection from spreading.

Over the next couple of months, Casiano came back to see Dr. Kempe for appointments. Little did she know, at the same time, he was also looking for a new job - one with benefits that included insurance.

"The big factor was needing health insurance for myself and for my family," said Casiano.

While searching for jobs, Casiano noticed the same clinic where he was being treated through OU, had a job opening and since he was so impressed with his own treatment, he submitted an application, and to his surprise was hired.

He now is a comforting voice to some patients who come in.

"There are some patients that, they have more than a toe amputated,” said Casiano. “Some have a leg amputated, some are in a wheelchair, and I say, 'You know what, I know where you're coming from.'"

He also gets to work, with Dr. Kempe, who gets to see Casiano thrive every day.

"It makes me proud,” said Dr. Kempe. “We accomplished what we were going for, we want a patient to maintain their quality of life and he has done just that. Now he's spreading the word that he wants the same for other patients as well."