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Patient Stories: Hear the inspiring stories of real patients at Greater Pittsburgh Vascular Associates – Judith Tlumac
By Nancy Kennedy

Some people might call it a miracle; others may view it as extraordinary good fortune. But Judith Tlumac knows that her harrowing, life-altering medical experience earlier this year had nothing to do with magic or luck. It was the result of the clinically brilliant, meticulous and person-centered care she received as a patient of Gennady Geskin, MD, and his associates and staff at Greater Pittsburgh Vascular Associates (GPVA).

Judith’s story begins with something mundane: she believed she had an ingrown toenail. She made an appointment with her podiatrist, who diagnosed bursitis and prescribed an antibiotic. There was no improvement and her pain steadily grew worse. Strangely, the pain increased when she rested, and was relieved by walking around. She returned to the podiatrist, and this time, he told he wanted her to see a cardiologist and vascular specialist: Gennady Geskin, MD. “I’ve heard great things about this guy,” he told her. “Let’s get you an appointment right now.”

It was late afternoon on a Friday. Judith decided to drive to the GPVA office on her way home, hoping to get an appointment as soon as possible. Her pain was severe. But when she arrived, the GPVA office had closed for the weekend. She was leaving when a staff member, staying late to get work done, saw her at the door. She unlocked it and welcomed Judith inside, sympathizing with her pain, and gave Judith an appointment with Dr. Geskin for Monday.
“Dr. Geskin examined me and told me that I was most likely going to lose my toe and possibly my entire foot. The blood circulation to my toe was very poor. I was stunned,” Judith says. He scheduled her for surgery, and Judith struggled with the unexpected news and the possible impact on her life.

“I knew that if I had to have an amputation, my life would change dramatically. Life is good – I’m an active 60 year old and I work part-time as an accountant. I live in the country and I love the outdoors. I’m an avid gardener. This was all taking place in March and April – tax season, the busiest time for accountants. I had to keep working through the pain. The only way I could manage it was to keep walking and pacing, and massaging my leg. I worked and took phone calls while pacing.”

The surgery took place on April 15 at Jefferson Hospital. Dr. Geskin found a blockage in a blood vessel and placed a stent in it to open it up. “He told me that my toe had basically died. But it has healed and is normal now. I am pain free and I can sleep again. I can sit, and I can work, garden and knit. I have my life back and it’s all because of Dr. Geskin and GPVA.” The entire staff at GPVA treated Judith exceptionally well, she states. “I was a person to them, not a patient. Everyone knew my name and greeted me. The woman who let me come in that day when the office was closed had compassion for me and was willing to break the rules. If not for her, I might have had to wait longer for an appointment and I may have needed an amputation.”

Judith is committed to living a healthy lifestyle and is deeply grateful for the excellent outcome she experienced. She says that she especially appreciates Dr. Geskin’s professionalism. “Dr. Geskin is serious and direct, and totally in charge. He knew exactly what my problem was and what to do. I had no idea how serious this was until he told me. He was decisive, thorough and confident, and that was reassuring for me. I have complete trust in him and great respect for him. Dr. Geskin is a true physician and I highly recommend him.”

For more information, visit www.greaterpittsburghvascularassociates.com; to make an appointment call (412) 469-1500.

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