Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finding something that works

Daniel Doherty’s life is very different today than it was nine months ago. For the past seven years, Dogherty, a 42 year-old Leominster resident has suffered from a vascular leg condition that caused painful ulcers above ankle. Although Dogherty thought had the condition under control, it flared up again about a year ago, and “I wasn’t making any progress,” he said.

The discomfort was so severe that it kept him up at night. “The chronic pain got to be draining,” he said, “and really wore me out.” Unless his legs were elevated, they would become swollen. That, combined with the necessity of wearing bandages all the time, was disheartening.

Says Dr. Jaff, “This poor guy had an uncommon problem that resulted in increased blood pressure in the veins in his legs, and a huge open ulcer on his right leg. The site was skin grafted and that failed, and people just couldn’t get it to heal.”

A New Treatment

In February, 2007, Dogherty saw Michael R. Jaff, DO, FACP, FACC, Director of the Vascular Center, for the first time. The goal, Dr. Jaff assured him, was to grow the skin back and improve his circulation. “When he saw me, “ said Dr. Jaff, “we used diagnostic testing, talked to other colleagues, and put together a plan.”

Although Doherty had previously been treated for this condition, Dr. Jaff was the first to prescribe a special ointment, called Allafin 405, a debriding agent that helps to eliminate clotted blood or foreign material from the wound site. He also emphasized the importance of wearing compression socks daily to improve circulation and prevent blood from pooling in the extremities.

“Dr. Jaff is a great guy,” said Dogherty, “and he has a tremendous bedside manner. He said 'we’re going to take care of this' and he did.” Laurie Shea, nurse practitioner and member of the Vascular Center team also helped Dogherty. She demonstrated the most effective way to do leg wraps with ACE bandages, and helped him apply Profore, a multi-layer compression bandage system for treating his condition.


Soon after starting his new regimen, the pain subsided. “I had immediate relief,” said Dogherty. “And literally within three months a wound that had been open for a year healed and remained healed,” said Dr. Jaff. Nine months later, “the skin has grown back and I no longer have to wear bandages,” says Dogherty. Although he still has other significant health issues, this condition has been resolved.

Being pain-free has improved every aspect of Dogherty’s life. He is more productive at work, and can enjoy spare time with the family. That includes playing with his 75-pound Standard Poodle, Bonnie, a champion frisbee catcher. “She’s been a good influence,” said Dogherty. “It’s important to walk whenever I can. Bonnie lets me know when she wants to go out and we go walking.”

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