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Irving Braun

The Heel Healed

Holy Name Patient Stories - Irving Braun

The pain in Irving Braun's heel was so severe, just touching the skin or putting a sheet over his foot in bed was agonizing.

At night, he would lay awake, foot propped up with a pillow so it wouldn't touch anything. During the day he just sat, also with his foot propped up, confined to a chair because he couldn't walk. "I was taking everything under the sun to kill the pain, but nothing worked," he said.

Year after year, doctor after doctor, procedure after procedure, Irving lived this wearisome existence. No one, he said, could come up with a procedure that would alleviate the pain.

Irving had peripheral artery disease, which was restricting blood flow to his foot. As a result, not only did he have pain, but ulcers had developed that just wouldn't heal.

Eventually gangrene set in and Irving was given news he never wanted to hear. "They said I might lose my foot, that they would have to amputate," he explained.

It was a devastating diagnosis for the once active 67-year-old. But he wasn't about to give up.

Irving made an appointment with a new podiatrist who told him about Dr. John Rundback, Director of the Interventional Institute at Holy Name Medical Center, and the groundbreaking treatments he performed on patients with similar problems.

"I went to see Dr. Rundback, who gave me an ultrasound so he could look at the veins and arteries," Irving said. "The first thing he said was, 'I'll take care of this, it's no problem.' I've been to so many doctors, even a top guy in New York City who told me he couldn't do anything, but Dr. Rundback looked at the blockage, looked at me and said, 'piece of cake.'"

Soon after meeting with Dr. Rundback, Irving underwent a quick, minimally-invasive procedure to open up the blocked artery, allowing the blood to flow to the affected area. And it happened - "the heel healed," he quipped.

After years of crippling pain a simple solution finally got Irving back on his feet.

"I couldn't walk, I couldn't walk," he said through tears. "Now my wife and I to go the mall and we walk from one end to the next."

It's hard for Irving to imagine what his life would be like had he not come to Holy Name.

"The overall care from the nurses and the staff including Dr. Rundback's secretary, Betty, was exceptional," he said.

Irving credits the man with the "golden hands" as he describes him, for not only fixing his foot, but giving him his life back.

"Life was a total horror before, now my wife and I say it's a piece of cake."

Dr. John Rundback is a renowned interventional radiologist in practice since 1993 . He said as many as 80 to 90 percent of major amputations can be prevented with a simple vascular evaluation and procedure.

Learn more about The Interventional Institute at Holy Name