Annie Collum, BSN, RN is the RIA Senior Manager, Physician Liaison in Denver, Colorado
July 14, 2020care, doctors, patient stories, stent
Patient Stories: When all else failed, Tessa S. found answers at RIA Endovascular
Sometimes when all else fails you need a team with the experience and caring to make a life changing difference.
What problems were you having before you came to RIA Endovascular?
Where do I even start?! I was diagnosed with blood clots at the age of 17 and have been living with them ever since. I sought medical advice from multiple doctors who led me to believe it was a condition I would have to live with for the rest of my life. I was informed that my IVC was collapsed, and since that was where the majority of the clotting was, I was not at risk of the clot breaking off and moving to my lungs, so there was not much else they could do but just manage my condition. I spent the end of my high school and all of college bouncing in and out of hospitals due to complications from the clots and trying to manage my blood thinners.
After graduating college, I suffered a knee injury that caused me to form new blood clots in my ankle and calf. It was at that point that my hematologist recommended I consult Dr. Pete Stratil and his team at RIA Endovascular to see if there was something more they could do to help.
In my initial meeting with Dr. Strail and the RIA team, they assured me that I did not, in fact, have to just “live with” my clots. They explained multiple different options to lessen the symptoms I was feeling and, ultimately, I scheduled surgery with them. A few weeks later, went in to have my IVC reconstructed. After a seven-hour procedure, I was relieved to awaken to a smiling team who excitedly told me that they had succeeded. Hearing Dr. Stratil and his team recount the surgery, I realized how grueling it was for the surgeons involved.
Throughout my post-op hospital stay, the RIA team continuously checked in on me to see how I was doing. When I continued to form clots and was sent back to the ICU on three separate occasions, it was the RIA group who came in more positive than ever with new ideas on what to try next. It was their unwavering determination and cohesiveness as a team that finally put an end to my “live with it” mentality.
Dr. Stratil and his team were able to accomplish something that all other specialists had failed to do; they stopped my clotting.
There were three separate occasions where they could have thrown in the towel (as other doctors had) and told me that was just how it was going to be, but they refused to. Just when the RIA Group thought they had seen the last of me, I returned home to Colorado (two years after my last visit with them) and went in to get an ultrasound and a general checkup. The ultrasound specialist walked out with the biggest smile on her face and greeted me with “my old pal Tess!”
That is exactly what you can expect from RIA: personability and compassion in your most vulnerable of times.
After the follow-up meeting, I decided to have a venogram to ensure my stents were open and clear. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, they opted to complete the procedure in their surgical suite in the office. The entire procedure was as easy as can be. The RN, Aaron, could not have been nicer and did everything in his power to make sure I knew exactly what the procedure consisted of and answered any questions I had. He was in the operating room with me the entire time constantly checking in.
Post-op, one of the doctors replayed what all they did in the procedure and let me see how the stent balloons worked. As a gal who has been through some surgeries, few doctors have taken the time to walk me back through the procedure. I left that day feeling like I had the best team behind me for whatever issue may arise. In my 26 years on this Earth, I have probably seen more doctors than I’ve seen movies in a theater, and I can say, with 100 percent confidence, I have never been cared for by a team as personable, professional, and invested in their patients as the RIA Endovascular Team.
How did you discover RIA Endovascular?
Dr. Thomas Kenney referred me to RIA after discovering new blood clots in my calf.
What specific result/outcome did you like most about this procedure?
The last procedure I had was an in-office venogram. After the procedure, I felt so reassured that there is an easy and painless way to fix any issues that may arise with my IVC stents. The RIA team were able to reopen the partially closed stents in a noninvasive way that took less than an hour and didn’t involve anesthesia. The best part about it was, it was all from the comfort of their office! The RIA surgery suite is amazing!
How was your patient experience with the doctor and clinic staff?
I feel so fortunate to be under the care of a team that values their patients so highly. I have visited the RIA office several times and had the pleasure of working with Mary, Aaron, Dr. Stratil and numerous other RIA employees who make it clear that you are their number-one priority. Even after years of absence, you pick right back up with the team as if you’d never left.
What would you like to share with others?
RIA provided me comfort, hope and solutions during some of my most vulnerable times. I have them to thank for helping me return to life as it was and not letting my chronic condition stop me from doing the things that I love to do. When other doctors couldn’t find a way around an obstacle, RIA welcomed the challenge and persevered.