Limb-Saving Center Coming for Franciscan St. Anthony Health

Limb-Preservation-Ctr-patientFranciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City is scheduled to open a Limb Preservation Center at its Woodland Health Center-Vascular Center of the Great Lakes, on Aug. 24.

That news is welcomed by such patients as Leslie Brady of Monterey, Ind., who recently had his right leg saved by Virginia Newman, MD, a vascular surgeon, who has performed some 2,000 limb-saving procedures since she began practicing in 1995.

Dr. Newman, who has been with Franciscan Alliance since 2010, will head the new center, which is a multidisciplinary effort involving vascular surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, nephrology, podiatry and wound care specialists

“Dr. Newman saved my life. I was scared to death of losing my leg and had never been in a hospital before,” Brady, a retired construction worker said, adding he was referred to Dr. Newman from another area hospital.

“Now, I never have felt better and am living a better-than-normal life. I could barely walk, now I can run a mile. It’s a different world for me,” he told of being free of the pain he endured for about six years. Brady said he had trouble walking more than 300 yards (“my legs would cramp”) and he had to sleep sitting up, because it hurt too much to lie down.

The problem was caused by a lack of blood flow to the leg, due to total blockages that began in the main artery in the abdomen and continued down the leg. The left leg also had an artery that was 100 percent blocked, so a complex rerouting of blood was needed to restore circulation to both legs, Dr. Newman said.

“Mr. Brady came in one day and was operated on the next by a good surgical team that affected an excellent result,” Dr. Newman said, adding, “Limb preservation is for people who have exhausted all other options – we go the extra mile for them. When patients have been told they need amputation, there frequently is another avenue to explore. We like doing the complex things most people don’t like to do.”

Added Brady, “I feel so much better all through my body because the (blood) circulation is so much better. Normally, I’m not a doctor person, but Dr. Newman and the hospital nurses and staff were all great. A lot of places have snobby people, but I didn’t find any of that at St. Anthony.”