Bill's Vascular Story

Feb 10, 2020
Bill Wilson, Tropic Bay, Delray Beach resident

Bill Wilson with wife, BarbaraThe day after Thanksgiving, I went for a walk and was wearing a brand new pair of diabetic walking shoes. In one of those shoes there was a little imperfection that rubbed on my right foot and ankle to the point of creating a massive blister. That blister opened up while I was wearing the shoe and the wound became badly infected.

My internist at Delray Medical Center, Dr. Bruce Berenson, immediately got on the phone to call the infectious disease specialist, Dr. Christopher Cortes, at the hospital. Within hours of seeing the Dr. Cortes, I started infusion antibiotics. I was sent to the wound care center and then to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in lower leg extremities. The size of the wound infection had eaten away the attachment of the Achilles tendon, which was by now seriously infected. The orthopaedic surgeon felt there was no way around amputation of the knee and ankle. I was sent to another orthopedic surgeon who said there was no way the leg could be saved. I refused to consent for amputation. The doctor then referred me to Dr. Joseph Ricotta, a vascular surgeon who would treat the apparent circulatory problems in my right leg.

My right foot and ankle infection went all the way down to my bone. It was a nightmare. I went to see Dr. Ricotta and he determined it would be beneficial to undergo a procedure to save my foot, ankle and leg.

The procedure was done at Delray Medical Center. This limb salvage procedure was done by Dr. Ricotta, robotically using an intravenous approach to get into the vascular system in my leg. Dr. Ricotta told me during the surgery he inflated a drug-coated balloon to create an angioplasty to open up a blockage and create a path in my right leg, which was caused by my diabetes and the infection. This is what saved my life. The lack of circulation in my right leg was causing my limb to die and the infection in the leg was down to the bone.

In addition, Dr. Ricotta had to remove three-quarters of my Achilles tendon. Before I met with Dr. Ricotta, this wound and infection was deemed totally inoperable. This was totally a miracle what Dr. Ricotta did to save my leg.

Delray Medical Center was just wonderful. I was only in the hospital for three days. I’ve had no discomfort whatsoever, none procedurally or after care. I have Brittle Diabetes and my team of doctors and everyone at Delray Medical Center from my primary care doctor to my podiatrist, to my infectious disease specialist and Dr. Joseph Ricotta, did such a fantastic job in treating me. This team of doctors was great because without giving me back my circulation it would’ve been a moot point.

It was a real team effort but the turning point was the establishment of the blood flow by Dr. Ricotta – that saved my leg and my life.