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Photo of Benjamin Franklin feeding the Birds in his backyard.

Benjamin Franklin - Midland, MI

"I have seen enough doctors in my life to be able to say that Dr. Constantinou really stood out. He went beyond seeing me as a condition and patient; he was interested in me as a person. That was new to me."

Thankful for the Personalized Vascular Care He Received Close to Home

When Benjamin Franklin began experiencing unresolved pain in his right foot, he decided he’d better make an appointment with his primary care physician. According to Franklin, she quickly referred him to a vascular specialist given his health history. Roughly 12 years earlier, he had received a stent for stenosis (narrowing) of the arteries in his heart. After his doctor confirmed additional treatment was needed, he was very glad he didn’t wait to seek out care.

Franklin was referred to Constantinos Constantinou, M.D., a vascular surgeon at MyMichigan Medical Center Midland. He diagnosed Franklin with peripheral artery disease (PAD) with stenosis of the femoral artery as the source of his foot pain. Treatment required surgery. “I wasn’t necessarily surprised by the diagnosis,” said Franklin, “but when I think about how much worse it could have been had I waited longer to have it looked into, it’s a little unsettling.”

When patients have had stenosis in the arteries of the heart, it is not uncommon to have stenosis of arteries in other places in the body. Symptoms of PAD include: claudication (pain in the legs when walking that goes away at rest), wounds or sores, and pain in the feet when resting that usually is worse at night like Franklin experienced. Dr. Constantinou performed a right femoral artery bypass with synthetic graft, which restored proper blood flow.

“I feel great now,” said Franklin whose surgery was in July 2020. “I sometimes have a little residual pain if I’m working too long in the garden, but I have an orthopedic boot I can put on for extra support and rest it when needed. It’s going very well.” Franklin stated that while there wasn’t much remarkable about his condition or the necessary procedure to correct it, what he didn’t expect was the culture in the office of the team caring for him.

Franklin, who is 78 years old, shared “I have seen enough doctors in my life to be able to say that Dr. Constantinou really stood out. He went beyond seeing me as a condition and patient; he was interested in me as a person. That was new to me.”

In fact, Franklin was impressed with everyone he encountered at the recently completed Heart and Vascular Center. He stated that the nursing and administrative teams were equally friendly, knowledgeable and kind. “It was unusual in the best possible way,” he said. “I have never experienced an atmosphere such as this in health care, so personal and professional.” Franklin’s daughter served as his support person and told him how much she appreciated the calming environment and being informed on how things were going with her father at every step during surgery. “There was no anxiety for either of us,” Franklin said. ”We felt very safe and well taken care of.”

Franklin continues to maintain his heath and recovery by taking walks to stay active, eating healthy meals and keeping a positive attitude. He became a master gardener after retiring from Dow Corning and loves to spend time outside working with his many varieties of flowers. He is a proud grandfather and grateful to be in good health for them. “What I would really like to tell people is that they should not try to self-diagnose or delay treatment,” said Franklin. “If you feel something is wrong, see your doctor and have it checked out. I am so glad I did.”

MyMichigan Health offers a full array of heart and vascular services, including open heart surgery, vascular surgery, electrophysiology for heart rhythm problems and advanced interventional procedures. Those who would like additional information on MyMichigan's comprehensive cardiovascular team may visit www.mymichigan.org/heart.