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Patient Letter: How CVV Saved My Grandmother

To the Physicians and Staff of Coastal Vein & Vascular,

I’m not sure if you remember my grandmother, Mrs. Pratt, but she remembers you. She is not a regular patient at your office and in fact does not even live anywhere close to New Bern, North Carolina but in a city 1000 miles away.

Early last summer she was attacked in the middle of the night by her house cat. She swears it didn’t mean any harm, but the gaping wound left behind by the cat’s claws required weekly visits to her hospital as various wound care physicians experimented with dressings, bandages, and other forms of treatment. You see, my grandmother has rheumatoid arthritis which has impaired her immune system over the years. Also because of the arthritis, she doesn’t move around as well as she used to which made the constant dressing and redressing of all those bandages more burdensome than helpful. As the weeks and then months wore on her physicians realized that the wound was not healing as well as it should–hampered by her medications as well as her poor circulation. There was doubt that it would ever heal at all and that she would have that nasty hole in her leg for as long as she lived.

Eventually the physicians tried to convince her that hyperbaric medicine was the answer. They would admit her into the hospital where she would stay for several weeks during which time they would periodically lock her in a small chamber and hope that the increased oxygen would somehow (magically?) succeed where they had failed. They were less clear on the *how* and *why* the hyperbaric chamber would work, but very straightforward that if it *didn’t* that they would have to amputate my grandmother’s leg. All for a cat scratch!

My mother, upon hearing this, and fearing that the trauma of either the chamber or the surgical amputation would kill my grandmother rather than save her, drove down to put my grandmother in a car to bring her to you. She had heard of your Vascular Access Center and figured the only way to actually heal a wound exacerbated by vascular access disease was to actually consult vascular surgeons. While there were vascular surgeons in my grandmother’s home town, there were none that specialized in out patient care and could see and treat her without visiting the hospitals she has learned to loathe.

She had three visits in your office. In the first she underwent an arterial doppler exam which showed a blockage in her femoral artery. She was immediately scheduled for an outpatient arteriogram and angioplasty with stent to open up her artery. When a follow up visit a few days later showed that her blood flow “wasn’t as good as it could be” she had a second arteriogram and second stent which fixed it. Each time she was in and out with no wait and no burdensome hospital admittance or procedures. All in all the only inconvenience she suffered was not being able to eat or drink the morning of her procedure.

Within a week the wound was already showing dramatic improvement and her pain decreased. And now, I am pleased to report, her wound (that other physicians believed would never close, or would take her leg) is completely healed.

P.S. We did get rid of the cat.

P.P.S. The cat is fine; we just gave it away to someone who wouldn’t bleed to death if Mimi’s claws “accidentally got stuck” in her leg.