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Vascular Innovation Spotlight: Patients as Partners | Learnings from a CLTI Patient’s COVID Horror Story

Excerpt: “Every hospital needs some sort of limb preservation unit in them…just like hospitals have a Level 1 Trauma Center,” explains Dr. David Armstrong, Professor of Surgery/Director of Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance, Keck School of Medicine of USC.


As part of our ongoing Vascular Innovation Series in conjunction with The Way to My Heart, Emmy Award-winning Journalist Kym McNicholas shares an impactful “Patients As Partners” discussion where physicians, innovators and patients analyze gaps in our healthcare system and solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of vascular disease that lead to better patient outcomes.


Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is asymptomatic until it’s not. That’s what Derrick discovered in 2018 when he suddenly experienced debilitating leg pain getting out of the car and foot ulcers seemed to appear overnight.  It wasn’t until just before the COVID lockdown last Spring, after multiple toe amputations, did his vascular surgeon finally officially diagnose him with Peripheral Artery Disease and attempt to restore blood flow using minimally invasive endovascular techniques, including angioplasty.

Derrick’s surgeon was not capable of revascularizing his foot, so his ulcers continued to necrose. Derrick decided to take more control of his health and reconnected with his surgeon who agreed he needed a follow-up intervention. Unfortunately, the hospital was overburdened by COVID at that time. Instead, the doctor told Derrick to schedule an amputation in the weeks ahead because by the time he could get him in, that would be the only option.

Derrick’s wife, Toni, scared her husband would lose his entire leg next, reached out to The Way To My Heart, where advocates put them in touch with leading vascular specialists Dr. Jihad Mustapha and Dr. Fadi Saab with Advanced Cardiac and Vascular. They drove hours from Indiana to Michigan where ultimately doctors were able to save both Derrick’s legs from further amputation.

In this week’s Vascular Innovation Spotlight, Derrick and his wife Toni discuss with physicians and researchers the critical issues that need to be addressed to prevent others facing similar situations from losing life & limb.


Expert Panel

Dr. David Armstrong
Professor of Surgery/Director
Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance
Keck School of Medicine of USC


Dr. Oliver Aalami
Clinical Assoc. Prof. – Surgery
VASCULAR SURGEON
Stanford University
Founder/VascTrak


Dr. Charles de Mestrel
Vascular Surgeon
St. Michael’s Hospital
Asst. Prof., University of Toronto


Jason Costello, MsC
Student Researcher
“Patient Journey Map of PAD” Project
School of Medical Device Innovation
National College of Art & Design, Dublin


Disclaimer: This interview was produced by The Way To My Heartin partnership with Vascular Cures. Neither The Way To My Heart nor Vascular Cures endorse any specific products, entrepreneurs, companies, organizations, and/or healthcare professionals, including diagnosis or treatment programs. The information, advice, and views shared in this interview are that of the individual speakers and are offered for educational and informational purposes only.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Don’t act on any information provided in this interview without the explicit consent of your own healthcare provider who knows your situation best.

If you think you are having a medical emergency, please go to the nearest emergency room or dial 911.

The patient featured in this “Patients as Partners” discussion has provided written consent to The Way To My Heart to share their story.

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