Save Your Breath – Local Pulmonary Specialist Team

Miami Pulmonary Specialists

The Keys have long served as an escape from the fast-paced, high-stress world, offering a big breath of fresh air to vacationers and residents alike. People retreat to the islands to escape their offices and busy schedules; however, they cannot leave their medical conditions behind. 

Despite the fresh island air, a deep breath can result in wheezing, coughing, and a reminder that good health depends on good doctors. 

While many good primary care physicians (PCPs) work locally, specialists are far and few between. The Miami Pulmonary Specialists realized this gap during their own escapes to the Keys.

Dr. Michael Hernandez was married in Tavernier and frequently retreats to the area with his family. The more he mingled with the community, the more he realized people shouldn’t have to refill their gas tanks to get specialized care. 

“We reached out to local PCPs and our Keys patients to get a sense of the need for pulmonary specialists,” Dr. Hernandez says, “and we received a resounding yes that my colleagues and I were needed locally.”

Backed by the tremendous enthusiasm of local doctors and existing patients, the Miami Pulmonary Specialists decided to branch out for the first time and take their practice to the Keys.

This isn’t the only first for the doctors, however. Dr. Hernandez and his colleagues, Dr. Pedro Sevilla and Dr. Andres Sosa, diagnosed the first COVID patient in the entire Baptist Health system. 

“As pulmonary specialists, we have been in the front lines of the pandemic, adapting and taking the lead to best serve our patients,” Dr. Sosa explains. “It’s been very challenging but rewarding.”

Dr. Sosa is one of the very few interventional pulmonologists who have completed an additional year-long fellowship and been board certified by AABIP. Locals, however, may know him better as a frequent visitor of John Pennekamp, where he regularly dives and snorkels.

The team is also the first and only group in South Florida to insert Zephyr valves and perform robotic bronchoscopy. They are revolutionary procedures that greatly improve the treatment of emphysema patients and diagnosis of lung cancer, respectively.

Dr. Sevilla specializes in pulmonary diseases, like lung cancer, and is known for using advanced technology to diagnose and treat pulmonary lesions. He is an avid fisherman who can be seen on the water when not in the office. 

“The Keys is a special place that is home to really good people,” Dr. Sevilla says. “We want to serve the community, but we also want to be a part of the community.” 

The physicians have made an impact in the medical community beyond their efforts in the pandemic. The Miami Pulmonary Specialists also established all smoking cessation protocols for the Baptist Health system. Plus, the aforementioned doctors are all assistant professors at FIU.

Newest to the team is Dr. Cristobal Risquez, who completed his residency at UM and fellowship at Cornell. He is an avid surfer and kite surfer that enjoys the waves in the Keys every opportunity he gets.

The team of doctors has been serving the Keys community for years. The difference now is they will be directly seeing patients in a local office. They will also be supported by three accomplished nurse practitioners.

The Miami Pulmonary Specialists treat all pulmonary diseases, including asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, and lung cancer. They also offer lung cancer screening, sleep medicine, and advanced bronchoscopic procedures.

Dr. Hernandez, Dr. Sosa, Dr. Sevilla, and Dr. Risquez are now accepting in-person and telehealth appointments for new and existing patients. They work out of Dr. Paul Ellison’s office, located off mile marker 100 in Key Largo. The team commutes regularly, and will increase their availability as the local practice grows. Telehealth is also readily available.

Patients no longer have to travel to Miami to receive specialized care. They can save their breath (and their gas) by visiting the Miami Pulmonary Specialists right here in the Keys conveniently located at 100210 Overseas Highway Suite 3, Key Largo.

Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.

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