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515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
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Olean General Hospital

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OGH offers new, specialized blood purification treatments

Posted on: 09/13/2016

Olean General Hospital is offering specialized blood purification treatments that previously required local patients to travel to larger tertiary centers in Buffalo, Cleveland or Rochester, thanks to generous benefactors.

The equipment at OGH provides therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE), also called plasmapheresis, as well as continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). Most patients that undergo the treatments are unable to receive traditional hemodialysis.

Walt Reisner is OGH’s first patient to undergo TPE locally. Before TPE was available in Olean, Reisner and his wife, Ruth, would have to travel to Buffalo. He recently had his fourth treatment at OGH and is happy he can receive his treatments close to home. “The commute is wonderful, especially in the winter,” he said.

TPE is a process where plasma is removed from the red blood cells, then replaced with donor plasma, albumin or other plasma substitutes. It is used to treat a variety of neurological, blood or autoimmune diseases such as myasthenia gravis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and organ transplant rejection.

CRRT, which has been offered at OGH for quite some time and has helped numerous patients, provides critically ill patients who are hemodynamically unstable, have acute kidney failure and cannot tolerate standard hemodialysis.

“We are caring for sicker patients so we need all the best equipment,” said Dr. Muhammed Javed, nephrologist, OGH, who oversees TPE treatment. This equipment compliments several specialties at Olean General including neurology, oncology and hematology, he said.

“With CRRT at our disposal in the ICU, we are able to provide the highest level of care available in the Southern Tier to our critically ill patients,” said Dr. Elwyn Clark, medical director, ICU, OGH, who oversees the use of CRRT. “It’s a great program that allows us to keep some of our sickest patients close to their homes, their families, and their support systems.”

The new equipment was made possible by a donation from Laurie Branch of Olean. Branch decided to help make this purchase possible after her father, Paul Branch, was critically ill several years ago and needed CRRT which wasn’t available locally at the time. Her father became very close to all the nurses and doctors at OGH so it would have been nice to receive his CRRT at OGH where he was comfortable, Branch said. In addition to Branch’s donation, the Still family of Bradford, Pa., provided funding for a companion machine.

“I’m very excited and thrilled we are not making patients choose between family and friends, doctors and nurses, and traveling out the area (for this specialized care),” Branch said. “We have rock star doctors right here in Olean.”

Karen Fohl, president of the OGH Foundation, shared her gratitude to the donors who met this critical need, to the doctors for their vision and nurses who worked hard to receive specialized training. “It really took a committed team to make all of this possible,” Fohl said.

Upper Allegheny Health System is the parent company of Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital. An integration of two prominent community hospitals in Southwestern New York state and Northwestern Pennsylvania, Upper Allegheny Health System’s goal is the enhancement of each hospital’s mission of care and service to their respective communities with the common goal of improving care, enhancing clinical programs and providing best-in-class service for various health needs.

CAPTION: Walt Reisner is the first patient to undergo TPE treatment at Olean General Hospital. Pictured with Reisner are, from left, Laurie Branch, Dr. Muhammed Javed and Dr. Elwyn Clark.

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