Local doctor treats woman with progressing vascular disease during COVID-19

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By: David DiPino
Contributing Writer

Dr. Joseph Ricotta provides emergency vascular care. Recently, Annette Diamond, 75, found herself in Dr. Joseph Riotta’s care as she faced a possibly life-threatening femoral pseudoaneurysm in her right leg.

“I had a problem with my leg a couple of years ago due to a blockage and another doctor, besides Dr. Ricotta, was watching the aneurysm and thought it would go away but it didn’t,” she said. “Another one of my doctors made a suggestion for me to go see Dr. Ricotta. I’m glad I did because the care Dr. Ricotta provided me was amazing.”

Diamond went to Dr. Ricotta’s Tenet Florida Cardiovascular Care office in Delray Beach for vascular disease testing. They found she had developed another leg artery blockage due to peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

“Dr. Ricotta fixed my leg blockage and, after more follow-up testing, he discovered an aneurysm in my groin,” she said.

In June, Dr. Ricotta repaired Diamond’s right femoral pseudoaneurysm at Delray Medical Cen-ter.

“Dr. Ricotta removed the aneurysm with a small incision and its healing nicely. My groin is perfect today,” she  said.

At first, she was apprehensive about going into the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Diamond said she was reassured with all of the safety protocols in place at Delray Medical Center and Dr. Ricotta’s Tenet Florida Cardiovascular Care Office in Delray Beach.

“Delray Medical Center is one of the safest places you can be outside of your home. There is a total separate pathway at Delray Medical Center for COVID-19 patient care and non-COVID-19 patient care,” Dr. Ricotta said.

Safety protocols are also in place at Dr. Ricotta’s office including screening patients prior to appointments and offering the option for patients to wait outside in their cars instead of the waiting room prior to appointments. In addition, the office limits the number of family or caregivers to one in the waiting room and only the patient in the exam room. Other safety protocols at the office include continuous masking of employees and maintaining a full stock of personal protective equipment, setting up waiting rooms to adhere to social distancing, taking the temperature of all individuals upon entrance to the office as well as a second screening protocol.

“When I went to Dr. Ricotta’s office for my appointment they didn’t let anyone inside until their appointment time so they already had social distancing guidelines in place. During my appointments at his office, all of Dr. Ricotta’s staff was wearing masks, they took my temperature upon entrance and I was seen in a timely manner,” said Diamond. “The office is very nice inside and the staff has been very attentive with any of my requests or needs.”

Dr. Ricotta is also offering patients the option of telehealth appointments when appropriate.

“We are doing a lot of telemedicine. It has allowed us to continue to care for and be in touch with our patients during this difficult time. Especially during the lockdown, telemedicine was a lifeline for them,” said Dr. Ricotta.

Diamond is glad she didn’t delay her vascular care.

“I’m actually glad I had it done when I did. Dr. Ricotta said if I had waited the aneurysm could’ve burst and if it ruptures it can be life-threatening. It was a dangerous thing so at that point I decided I’m not going to wait or delay care,” said Diamond.

“I think Dr. Ricotta is a wonderful doctor. Before the surgery he explained everything to me. He’s caring and a really nice guy. He seemed to handle my leg blockage and aneurysm surgery with ease. I wouldn’t hesitate to highly recommend him to others.”

Even though he has a busy schedule, Diamond said she appreciated that Dr. Ricotta took the time to make sure all of her questions were answered about the care she was receiving.

“Dr. Ricotta goes to hospital and back and forth to his office all day long. He also has an office based laboratory where he sees patients for outpatient procedures just a few doors down from his office where he sees patients for appointments. But, Dr. Ricotta still takes the time to communicate with the patient. Dr. Ricotta is an amazing doctor,” said Diamond.

Vascular disease will not slow down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

With new COVID-19 patient safety protocols in place Dr. Joseph Ricotta is emphasizing the importance of preventive healthcare, especially vascular care to the community.

“We have been busy over the last few months, not only with COVID-19 positive patients who have suffered vascular complications as a result of the virus, but more often with COVID negative patients that have had progression of their baseline vascular disease,” said Dr. Ricotta, National Medical Director for Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy for Tenet Healthcare.

If vascular disease is neglected, procedures to fix the ailment can become more complicated.

“When patients delay their care the disease progresses and it becomes life or limb threatening,” said Dr. Ricotta, adding in many cases patients can go home the same day as their procedure.