Health Cover Stories

Deep Breath: SLUCase Physician Group

Connie Williams of Winfield, Missouri, suffered for years with a chronic, debilitating cough whose cause no one could pinpoint. Recently, she was referred to pulmonologist Dr. Ghassan Kamel of SLUCare Physician Group, and the picture finally became clearer.

“I was diagnosed with asthma years ago, so I assumed the cough must be related to that,” Williams says. “I had been feeling very discouraged, but Dr. Kamel was committed to helping me get better. He ordered thorough tests and imaging and discovered that I wasn’t really suffering from asthma anymore. It turned out that a few other things were going on, including a chronic bacterial lung infection, inflammation and tissue damage from past infections. It was such a relief to finally put a name on my problem so it could be addressed.”

Williams says Kamel went after the truth with a real sense of commitment and caring. “He did things that no other doctor had done—he conferred with other specialists to find answers, and he offered me options for treatment,” she says. “He pursued solutions aggressively, and at every step of the process, he called to explain what was going on. Dr. Kamel always answers my questions thoroughly and gets back to me right away because he knows it’s important to me.”

Kamel practices with Drs. Edward Charbek and Armin Krvavac, providing complete care for patients with issues such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, exercise-induced airway disease, bronchiectasis (a condition that causes breathing difficulties) and vocal cord dysfunction. The three doctors see patients at the Center for Specialized Medicine at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SLUCare’s Des Peres Medical Arts Pavilion.

“The reasons behind airway problems are not always clear at first, but we have the technology and expertise to get to the bottom of disease processes and improve the patient’s life,” Kamel says. “We work closely with our partners in otolaryngology, interventional pulmonology, speech pathology, allergy and immunology to bring relief to people with airway and breathing issues.”

Kamel says SLUCare physicians continue to be sensitive to patients’ COVID-19 concerns, offering video and telephone consultations when needed. When patients visit either location, they can look forward to pleasant surroundings, safe practices, short wait times and efficient, personalized care, he says

He adds that a combination of knowledge, technology and compassion is needed to ensure the right diagnosis and treatment plan for patients with airway problems. “We are a multidisciplinary team with a personalized approach,” he says. “We want people to have a high quality of life and keep doing the activities they enjoy without being limited by disease.”

Williams says this comprehensive approach has made all the difference for her health. “I appreciate the fact that Dr. Kamel investigated avenues that previous doctors didn’t,” she says. “He is very caring, and I can tell that he enjoys what he does. I was quite sick before, but I’m feeling much better now. My SLUCare experience has been a very satisfying one.”&

SLUCare physicians see patients with airway and breathing issues at the Center for Specialized Medicine at the new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and Des Peres Medical Arts Pavilion. Pictured on the cover: SLUCare pulmonologists Dr. Edward Charbek, Dr. Ghassan Kamel, Dr. Armin Krvavac. For more information, call 314.977.7893 or visit slucare.edu.

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group

Pictured at top: Dr. Ghassan Kamel evaluates a patient.
Photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group

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