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Exceptional Care Keeps Patient on His Feet

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We often take our feet for granted, but when something goes wrong, our feet and legs need immediate attention.

If you’re experiencing foot pain, it’s important to stay on your toes. Having podiatric issues treated sooner rather than later can change the course of your life.

Brent Parker, 32, developed a staph infection in his foot in 2015 that could have resulted in amputation had he not received expert care.

While in Hawaii for his wedding in 2015, Brent likely cut his foot on some coral.

“At first there was a bump on my foot. About two weeks later, it blew up,” Brent says.

Knowing he was more susceptible to developing staph infections as a Type 1 diabetes patient, Brent met with podiatric surgeon Gennady Kolodenker, DPM, who recently expanded his practice to Hoag Health Center Irvine this spring, and immediately felt at ease.

“I knew I was in the right place,” Brent says.

From diabetic sores and sports injuries, to bunions and fractures, specialists like Dr. Kolodenker help patients understand their foot issues and can recommend innovative treatment regimens for even the most complicated cases.

“If it’s below the knee, we treat it,” says Dr. Kolodenker, who is on staff at Hoag, Hoag Orthopedic Institute and CHOC Children’s Hospital.

Brent underwent four surgeries at Hoag Orthopedic Institute to remove the staph infection, receive a skin graft and have multiple plates and screws inserted in his left foot and ankle. He also underwent a full fusion of the right foot and ankle. All together, he spent two months in and out of the hospital.

“I received great care,” he says. “Having diabetes, I have been through hospital systems everywhere. I felt I was receiving the attention I needed, and I appreciated the humor that the nurses brought to my situation. They really helped ease the tension.”

Some of that tension centered on the fact that as a Type 1 diabetes patient, Brent was highly susceptible to developing another staph infection. Brent credits a wound care specialist at Hoag Orthopedic Institute with keeping a laser-focus on his care throughout his stay.

Dr. Kolodenker says the entire Hoag community embodies that patient-centered dedication. It’s a feeling patients get as soon as they walk through the door.

“I really like the community feel here,” he says. “I appreciate the fact that my patients are able to have imaging done onsite, and that I can refer them to other specialists right here in the building.”

A year after his surgery, Brent’s left leg was fine, but his body rejected the metal put into his right leg. Brent’s ankle is now in a brace. While surgery might be an option in the future, he says he is simply thankful to stand and walk on his own feet.

“There are certain sports I will never play again. But if I had not gone to the right doctor at the right time, it could have been way worse,” Brent says. “They took the time to figure out my story and take in the full picture.”

“I have never had the kind of personal experience with health care providers that I have had with the people at Hoag,” he says. “Being diabetic, providers tend to put you into a box, and make you feel like because you have diabetes, you’re a certain kind of patient and nothing can be done for you. I feel that at Hoag, all the doctors take a different approach. They explore the situation to see what else can be done.”

“I had to have all the metal in my right leg removed. Dr. Kolodenker eased me into the procedures that I would have to undergo and prepared me for what to expect,” Brent says.

Brent adds another warning: Get your treatment from the right place.

“I feel like my situation tested the skills and knowledge of everyone to the full extent,” Brent says. “And in every instance Hoag exceeded my expectations.”