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Pinellas man thanks doctors and nurses for saving his life

Man thanks doctor
Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 05:15:22-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Pinellas County man said he is lucky to be alive and grateful to have had the opportunity to thank the healthcare heroes who saved his life and helped his mother in the final moments of her life.

Leo Briceno waited nearly seven months to reconnect with the doctors and nurses at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg who kept him alive and inspired him to keep fighting.

He hugged trauma surgeon Dr. Khaled Basiouny tightly and told him "Thank you" Thursday morning in one of the hospital’s emergency trauma rooms. Dr. Basiouny spent hours by Briceno’s bedside after he and his mother were involved in a serious car crash last August in St. Petersburg.

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“A driver lost control and was coming my way and I didn’t know what to do but to protect my mom, so I veered right a little and the car hit us and my mom died and the lady who hit us died too,” Briceno said through tears.

Dr. Basiouny was with Briceno’s mom in the hospital when she passed, then he turned his attention towards Briceno.

“The last time I saw him he was so sick and to see him walking and standing and giving hugs, it’s absolutely amazing,” Dr. Basiouny added.

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Briceno spent weeks at Bayfront Health St. Peterburg recovering from his injuries. Now, he’s walking with two canes and is back to coaching open water swimming, and couldn’t wait to update the hospital workers on how far he’s come.

“It’s incredible. I have looked forward to this,” Briceno said moments after his tight hug with Dr. Basiouny.

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“It actually does such a huge boost for morale. It makes people feel incredible because it makes you feel like the job you’re doing is worthwhile,” Dr. Basiouny elaborated.

It turns out that fate has a strange way of timing out just right. One week after Briceno’s mom died, he found out his fiancé was pregnant.

“Baby Kai is his name and he’ll be here in six weeks,” Briceno said while wiping back tears. “It’s definitely a sign. It’s a gift from my mom.”

Briceno can’t wait to introduce baby Kai to the men and women who saved his daddy’s life, and he hopes his story will encourage all of us to thank those in our lives for making a difference.

“Be thankful. I am thankful for these amazing people and all the nurses I think we take it for granted and we shouldn’t. They are angels and they saved my life,” he added.

Many local Tampa Bay hospitals now have programs where you can nominate doctors and nurses for their outstanding care and healthcare workers tell ABC Action News Reporter Sarah Hollenbeck that’s made all the difference over these past two challenging years.