Foreign firms bringing new plants — and jobs — to Central Florida.

Mazor Robotics is opening a manufacturing plant in Orlando to construct products like Renaissance, which is transforming spine surgery from freehand procedures to highly-accurate, state-of-the-art robotic procedures.

ORLANDO – For decades, the Orlando area has benefitted from international visitors coming to this region to visit the local tourist attractions, stay at local hotels and dine at restaurants — pumping millions into the economy every year.
Now a very different kind of foreign investment is coming here – one based not on tourism, but medical research and aircraft construction.
Mazor Robotics, Inc. is an Israeli developer that builds surgical robots for medical research. The company recently announced that it was relocating its U.S. headquarters to Orlando.
What attracted them, the company’s CEO noted, was the existing health care infrastructure in this city, including the expansive Lake Nona Medical Complex.
“We look forward to relocating our U.S. base to the Metro Orlando area,” said Ori Hadomi, CEO of Mazor Robotics. “We anticipate a great deal of growth over the next several years, and the medical centers in Florida have been innovators with their rapid adoption of the Renaissance technology. We strongly believe that with the Orlando area’s commitment to providing a superior environment for medical research and development, our company will be well-positioned to maximize that growth opportunity.”
At the same time, an Italy-based airplane manufacturer called Italico Aviation announced it would open a manufacturing plant at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport, to build light sports aircraft. Continue reading

Medical firm brings the doctor right to the tourist.

If a tourist in Central Florida gets sick during their vacation, they have another option besides finding the nearest hospital and waiting hours in the emergency room. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

FOUR CORNERS – For tourists flocking to this region for the holiday season, there are plenty of options when they get hungry – including not having to go out at all or leave their resort or vacation home to fight the long lines at area restaurants.
Even if they’re not in the mood to do any cooking, they can order out and have a wide variety of very specialized foods delivered right to their door.
But what if one member of the vacationing family gets sick? Does an ill-timed sickness mean the entire family needs to spend countless hours waiting to be examined at the nearest emergency room? Or does it mean a hunt for a local doctor whose office is open and who is accepting last-minute appointments?
There is another option available: a physician delivered right to the door of their resort, hotel room or vacation home, ready to help the patient get back to the theme parks as quickly as possible.
“We send house call doctors to the hotels and vacation homes,” said Ligia Root. “We pretty much bring the clinic to the guests, so it’s very convenient for them.”
Root is an account executive with The Medical Concierge, a company based at 6000 Turkey Lake Road, Suite 209, in Orlando. A part of EastCoast Medical Network Inc., the concept is simple: medical care provided exclusively to this region’s visitors and tourists.
That includes physician house calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and same-day dentist and specialist appointments.
In other words, if the patient doesn’t know where to go to find the physician, then the doctor comes directly to them. Continue reading

Photo exhibit puts a focus on bravery in the face of a major illness.

The “Faces of Lung Cancer” Photo Exhibit at the orlando Public Library includes a collection of photos and personal essays from lung cancer patients like Huong, a Vietnamese mother of two with a malignant tumor. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

ORLANDO – Pete was 58 years old when he was treated for a skin condition called t-cell lymphoma. His battle with the illness started in January 2004, when Pete was first diagnosed with lung cancer.
He recalled the gut-wrenching emotions he first went through when he started on this unexpected and unwanted journey.
”At first, I felt kind of hurt,” Pete said. “I said, ‘Why me?’ Then I started thinking, ‘Why not me?’ I can’t change it. I just have to deal with it the best I can.”
As it turns out, cancer did not take Pete’s life. He died on Oct. 15, 2008, from heart problems unrelated to his cancer. Before he did, Pete said he wanted to demonstrate to his friends, family and neighbors that he was not a cancer victim, but a man who could demonstrate courage against such a difficult battle.
“Let me still make history day by day,” he said.
Pete’s story is one of nine portraits of people with lung cancer now on display at the Orlando Public Library. Known simply as the “Faces of Lung Cancer Photo Exhibit,” this is in one sense a cautionary tale for those who either are smoking, or may be thinking about taking on the habit. Continue reading

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