Vascular consultant uses Facebook to connect with patients

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A vascular consultant has been using social media to connect with patients in need of a second opinion.

Lorenzo Patrone, an interventional radiologist at the West London Vascular and Interventional Centre, was invited to join a Facebook group whose members are affected by Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a condition restricting blood flow to the lower legs.

Patrone said: “I got a group invite and quickly found myself fielding a large number of enquiries from patients across the UK wanting further advice and a second opinion.

“It’s been a real eye-opener in terms of the power of a social media in bringing people together and I’m not aware of any medical colleagues in my specialism using it in this way. It’s a fantastic way of giving patients more choice.

“The centre is the first in the UK which brings vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists together meaning we can offer our patients a comprehensive range of procedures under one roof.”

The West London Vascular and Interventional Centre provides specialist services to the population of North West London, as well as complex treatments to patients referred nationally and internationally. The majority of services are provided at the Northwick Park Hospital in north-west London.

The first person to benefit from the arrangement was 56-year-old William Smith from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Smith had already had one leg amputated below the knee three years ago and had been told twice that the other limb would also need to be removed.

Seeking advice through the PAD support group, he then began to talk with Patrone, who suggested Smith came to London for a consultation.

Smith ended up having a minimally invasive procedure which resulted in him regaining some feeling in his leg.

Smith said: “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I was not able to sleep and to live a normal life because of the pain. I think a lot of people wouldn’t even consider asking for a second opinion but it’s your right as a patient.

“I can’t thank him enough and it shows the value of joining Facebook groups where you can talk with people in a similar position and, hopefully, find someone like Lorenzo and his team.”

The West London Vascular and Interventional Centre is currently in the process of installing two fixed theatre cameras allowing the team to record cases and eventually live stream operations at international congresses or during vascular webinars.

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