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Success Stories
MyConsult Second Opinion Program helps International Journalist Avoid Amputation

Eric Clark, an acclaimed journalist and author from London, spent much of his career working undercover, crafting feature articles that exposed high-profile arson rings and drug raids. Writing was his lifelong passion.

But, in 2011, Eric experienced a sudden pain in his right leg that. Though he didn’t know it at the time, that pain threatened to hinder his passion for investigative journalism.

Eric, who was in the midst of preparing for another article which would require him to join the London Metropolitan Police Riot Squad, made an appointment with his physician.

A CT scan showed that Eric’s leg pain stemmed from severe claudication, a painful symptom of aneurysmal disease that had developed in his popliteal artery.

When medication failed to relieve Eric’s symptoms and another viable vein could not be identified, his surgeon recommended a Darcon graft. The procedure would involve placing a synthetic tube in his leg to replace the dilated popliteal artery.

Eric underwent the Darcon graft operation in November 2011 and though it was supposed to alleviate his aneurysmal disease, the surgery became the beginning of his ongoing medical problems.

Only days after the surgery, Eric returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with an infection so severe that it changed his life.

Eric underwent emergency surgery to remove the graft. Due to the severity of his infection, his surgeon was also forced to remove two major arteries in his right leg. He was left with a residual infection.

After the surgery, Eric started a slow and painful recovery. With two major arteries removed, blood flow to his lower right leg was limited and his claudication symptoms became worse than they had been previously. He began experiencing additional symptoms in his foot and ankle

Crippled by his pain and barely able to walk, Eric was sidelined from taking on the investigative journalistic assignments that he felt so passionately about.

Eric’s surgeon provided him with only two options: Live with the severe leg pain and attempt to control it for as long as possible with medication, or undergo another risky operation that could potentially result in the amputation of his leg.

That’s when Eric decided to seek a second opinion. He turned to the Internet.

“In London, surgeons reign supreme,” Eric explained. “In the United States, that’s not always the case. I was interested in getting a new perspective from a vascular specialist who was not a surgeon.”

After searching online and comparing several healthcare organizations, Eric chose Cleveland Clinic based on its renowned reputation and because the organization offered an online medical second opinion program called MyConsult.

The MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program is a sophisticated, Web-based extension of Cleveland Clinic's 90-plus-year role as one of America's respected referral institutions. It is a secure, online program that provides medical second opinions for more than 1,200 diagnoses that may impact quality of life or may be more serious, and makes connecting with one of Cleveland Clinic’s specialists easy and convenient for international patients like Eric.

“Logging onto the secure MyConsult portal was easy,” Eric said. “After I selected my diagnosis from the list, I began gathering my medical records and imaging studies to send to Cleveland Clinic.”

Shortly, Eric received his electronic MyConsult second opinion, which was completed by Mehdi Shishehbor, DO, MPH, Staff Physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute, who specializes in conditions like Eric’s.

In his report, Dr. Shishehbor indicated that after reviewing Eric’s case very carefully, he believed that Eric was indeed doing everything possible to manage his condition.

“Due to my history of infection and because the risk of losing my leg was so high, Dr. Shishehbor recommended that I continue to manage my pain with medication rather than undergo a second surgery,” Eric said. “His report was thorough and emphatic which gave me a sense of confidence.”

In his MyConsult report, Dr. Shishehbor also provided exercise recommendations that may help Eric increase blood flow to his right leg and provided feedback on options for pain medication.

“I was personally leaning toward dealing with my condition conservatively,” Eric said. “Dr. Shishehbor’s report provided me with the knowledge I needed to confirm that I was indeed making the right choice. I felt like I was gaining control over my situation.”

After sharing his MyConsult second opinion report with his physician in London, Eric has chosen to forgo a second operation.

“I move slower than I did before my diagnosis and my work is nearly impossible now,” Eric said. “The quality of my life has drastically changed due to my pain, but the loss of my leg would be far worse.”

Today, Eric is researching new blood oxidation medications which may improve blood flow to his leg. He is grateful for the new mindset he has gained from his MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion.