Sherman Oaks Hospital Announces New Amputation Prevention Center® Headed by Nationally-Renowned Doctors


Hospital Cites Rising Numbers of Patients with Diabetes as Area of Great Need

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – March 25, 2014 – Sherman Oaks Hospital is pleased to announce the start of the new Amputation Prevention Center®. The center will have dedicated inpatient and outpatient space, dedicated operating rooms and two hyperbaric oxygen chambers in addition to the state-of-the-art equipment needed to perform surgical limb salvage. Lee C. Rogers, D.P.M., a fellowship-trained podiatrist, will be the founding medical director.

"The Amputation Prevention Center® at Sherman Oaks Hospital will provide a fundamental change to the way we practice limb salvage," said Bockhi Park, Chief Executive Officer of Sherman Oaks Hospital. "This program will ensure that our hospital continues to set the benchmark for patient-centered care."

Nearly one in 12 Americans has diabetes, the leading cause of amputation. Diabetes leads to numbness in the feet called neuropathy, which can cause foot ulcers. Foot ulcers and infections lead to amputations. Additionally, circulatory problems associated with diabetes cause delayed healing in even simple wounds like cuts or scrapes and sometimes gangrene occurs. These complications of diabetes claim approximately 100,000 limbs annually in the United States.

Techniques used to save feet and legs from amputation include surgery to remove infection, restore blood flow or to skin graft the wound. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment can force high concentrations of oxygen into the blood stream and kill infection or prevent tissue loss.

"Being told that you may lose a limb is life-altering. With Dr. Rogers' extensive knowledge and clinical leadership in limb salvage, we hope to advance our ability to heal those patients facing a possible amputation. We are pleased to have someone with his experience join our team," said Sherman Oaks Hospital Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sunny Bhatia, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Sherman Oaks Hospital recruited physicians and surgeons with specific expertise in limb salvage to staff the new center.

Dr. Lee C. Rogers, a fellowship-trained podiatrist, will be the founding medical director. Rogers has previously started two successful centers focused on limb salvage in Des Moines, Iowa and in Van Nuys, Calif. and is the medical director of the Amputation Prevention Centers of America®, a national network of specialized centers. Rogers is an award-winning researcher and has more than 100 publications. His work has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, US News & World Report, USA Today and he has been a guest on "The Doctors Show."

Dr. Willis Wagner andDr. Rajeev Rao of Vascular Surgery Associates will join the Amputation Prevention Center® team at Sherman Oaks Hospital. Dr. Wagner is an expert in surgical revascularization, a published author of several manuscripts in respected journals and past-president of the Southern California Vascular Society. He currently serves as clinical chief, division of vascular surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Rao is an expert in endovascular surgery for limb salvage and has authored papers on endovascular management of various conditions in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Ronald J. Belczyk specializes in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Belczyk served his surgical residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and then completed an additional year of foot and ankle surgery residency under the mentorship of Dane Wukich, M.D. He then completed a fellowship in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where he focused on traumatic foot and ankle injuries, deformity correction, diabetic Charcot reconstruction and soft tissue coverage of the diabetic foot. Dr. Belczyk has completed fellowships on external fixation in Russia and Greece and an Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (AO) fellowship in Switzerland under the mentorship of Kaj Klaue, D.P.M. Dr. Belczyk is a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and board qualified in both foot surgery and reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. He actively participates in resident and fellowship education and clinical research. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters in the field of reconstructive and revisional foot and ankle surgery. His interests include trauma, soft tissue coverage of the diabetic foot, reconstruction of post-traumatic injuries and revisional surgery of the foot and ankle.

Dr. David A. Pougatsch is a fellowship-trained podiatric surgeon specializing in diabetic limb salvage and reconstructive foot and ankle surgery. He has authored numerous publications and has presented research and lectured at several nationwide scientific meetings. Dr. Pougatsch is active in mentoring residents and students by serving as a clinical instructor of podiatric medicine and surgery at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. and is on the teaching faculty in the department of surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he also completed his residency. Dr. Pougatsch finished his post-graduate fellowship in a combined program with the Amputation Prevention Center® and Western University of Health Sciences.

Dr. J. Thomas Millington is a fellow of the American College of Certified Wound Specialists and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is board certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine with a subspecialty in undersea & hyperbaric medicine. Dr. Millington teaches several safety courses on hyperbaric oxygen treatment annually.

Dr. Samuel Kashani is a general surgeon with expertise in pressure ulcer management and alternative tissues to cover wounds.

Rogers said, "I'm excited to partner with one of the country's top health systems and to help them build a world class program to prevent one of the most feared complications of diabetes – an amputation. We plan on delivering the highest quality care by using the most modern treatments. Our program is already attracting patients from around Southern California and the world."

Sherman Oaks Hospital is a 153-bed community hospital in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The hospital is part of Prime Healthcare, Inc. in Ontario, Calif. Prime Healthcare was named one of America's 15 Top Health Systems in 2013 by Truven Health Analytics. The 15 Top Health Systems outperformed other hospitals by saving more lives and causing fewer patient complications, making fewer safety errors, releasing patients sooner and scored better on patient satisfaction surveys.

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Media inquiries, please contact:

Nicole Garrett

Program Director

Sherman Oaks Hospital Amputation Prevention Center®

(818) 205-1995

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