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MedWatch: Bleeding Disorders

Blood disorders are rare and can be very serious and are usually congenital.

Deborah Douglas and her daughter Kate Walski were diagnosed with platelet storage pool disorder after Kate gave birth to her third child.

Having the proper care in their own backyard was a lifesaver.

Katie Boomgaard has their story in today’s MedWatch report.

“I didn’t find out until two years ago, when my daughter had her third child and the first two pregnancies were problematic, and her midwife said that she should be tested, and after she tested positive then I also had the test, because I had similar issues,” says Deborah Douglas.

Kate Walski adds, “If they hadn’t realized that then I would have never known. A lot of the health care providers don’t know and it is great that we have that clinic that can be our advocate.”

And that sparked the beginning of their diagnosis and treatments with Munson Medical Center’s Hemophilia Treatment Disorder Clinic.

Deborah says, “I’m so grateful that our bleeding disorder clinic is so involved in research and internationally, and I just think that we have access to the newest information out there.”

Dr. Michelle Witkop, DNP, FNP-BC, says Traverse City’s clinic is coined as unusual because most centers have a core treatment center with a physician, nurse, social worker and a physical therapist – but things run differently here.

“Because we’re so rural and we don’t have access to that, we can’t get those specialty hematologists to come to this area because we have so few patients,” explains Dr. Witkop. “What we have developed through the need is, we’re a nurse practitioner medically managed clinic and we’re the only one in the United States.”

And one thing that sets Traverse City a part from the rest is their state of the art technology.

“One of the ways we have been able to provide this care and keep in contact with our distant physicians is to do that through Telemedicine. A lot of people might think of it like Facetime or Skyping, but it is HIPAA compliant, meaning that it’s very secure networks and we’re able to have a face-to-face meeting with the distant provider.”

For Deborah, she says Telemedicine made it possible for her to stay close to home and still get high-quality help.

“I actually had like two providers, if one thought of something they would bounce it off the other one, and actually with the Telemed you had pretty focused attention. There wasn’t anything else that the provider was looking at but me and talking and it was like very spot on care. It was really impressive. I was surprised,” says Deborah.

And after getting the answers and help they needed, they thought about the rest of their family and who else could have it.

“Having three girls, you do know that there’s a good possibility at least one of them will have it and how it will affect them, but it’s good to know if you have it and what we can do to manage it,” explains Kate.

But now knowing help is out there has put this family at ease and able to cope with their blood disorders.

“A lot of providers don’t understand it and they don’t know what to do with it, so really having those people by your side to help you out and have that plan in place,” says Kate.

Deborah adds, “You know when you’re a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, it’s really nice to know someone has your back.”