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Sarasota Memorial Hospital uses robot to find lung cancer nodules

INNOVATION

The Depths of the Lungs

Among the challenges in diagnosing and treating lung cancer is the difficulty of detecting malignant nodules in hard-to-reach areas within the lung.

Doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital have begun using a robot that they hope will make it easier to find those cancerous areas. The equipment includes a flexible robotic endoscope that doctors can use to navigate and search the narrow and distant branches of the lung to obtain tissue samples for biopsy.

Sarasota Memorial is one of 10 hospitals nationwide with the robot, which is part of Auris Health’s Monarch Platform, a system that recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

DEFENSE

  • In June, U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base will host the 2019 DoD Warrior Games, a multi-sport competition among more than 300 wounded, ill or injured active-duty and veteran military athletes. Events will include wheelchair basketball, swimming and archery.

EDUCATION

  • Michèle Alexandre, a civil rights scholar, has been named dean of Stetson University’s college of law. Alexandre, who had been an associate dean of the University of Mississippi’s law school, becomes Stetson’s first African-American law school dean.
  • The University of South Florida St. Petersburg leased space south of downtown to host its new accelerated second-degree nursing program starting next fall.

ENVIRONMENT

  • To help the Gulf of Mexico recover from red tide-related fish kills over the last year, more than 14,000 hatchery-raised juvenile and adult redfish have been released off the coasts of Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties this year. The work is being overseen by the Coastal Conservation Association and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FINANCE

  • Tampa-based private equity firm Katz Capital has purchased Camp Grove State Bank in Illinois. The price was not disclosed.
  • TD Bank has appointed Mike Nursey to head the bank’s middle market group for Florida. Based in Tampa, Nursey will oversee the bank’s operations serving mid-sized companies in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Lakeland and Melbourne.
  • Belleair Bluffs-based Seminole Financial Services has named Chris Diaz and Tim Fetter co-CEOs. They replace founder and former CEO Robert J. Banks, who will stay on as chairman.

GOVERNMENT

  • After 12 years as Manatee County’s administrator — which culminated a 50-year career in local government — Ed Hunze- ker retired earlier this year. Cheri Coryea, the county’s former neighborhood services director, replaces him.

HEALTH CARE

  • The Laser Spine Institute, a Tampa-based chain of clinics with locations in Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Missouri, has shut down. The institute, which touted minimally invasive spinal procedures to combat back pain, employed 500. Three years ago, it spent $56 million to open a 176,000-sq.-ft. headquarters near Tampa International Airport. Financial problems, including losing various lawsuits filed by competing doctors and former patients, dogged the chain.
  • TouchPoint Medical, which makes medical-dispensing equipment for hospitals, broke ground on a 142,000-sq.-ft. facility in Pasco County. The location will have room for nearly 300 employees.

REAL ESTATE

  • Construction is underway on Stone Lofts, a 251-unit apartment complex in St. Petersburg’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood.
  • Pending home sales in the Bonita Springs-Estero market were down 19% in January (263) compared to January 2018’s 325.

TOURISM

  • Wendie Vestfall, former president of the tourism department in Dover, Del., has been named tourist development director of the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau.

TRANSPORTATION

  • The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority was awarded $1 million from the state Department of Transportation’s resilience program to pay for repairs at the authority’s operations facility, which was flooded during 2018’s hurricane season.
  • Port Tampa Bay hired Mark Clayton Hollis III as chief of staff. His predecessor, Jamal Sowell, left the port to become CEO of Enterprise Florida.

WORKFORCE

  • Non-agricultural employment rose less than 1% last year, from 721,500 in 2017 to 726,100 in 2018, according to the Tampa- Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

Read more in Florida Trend's May issue.

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