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Patricia Diguisto Now Breathing Easy

Breathing Easy Thanks to St. Elizabeth’s and its Pulmonary Team

Patricia D. and her granddaughter, Skyler.

After struggling with severe asthma for more than 15 years, Patricia D., 64, is breathing easy now after undergoing the new, innovative bronchial thermoplasty procedure at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

For the first time in years, she can take a walk, climb stairs and play with her grandchildren without fearing that she would be felled by another asthma attack.“Having this procedure done at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center was life altering for me,” she said. “And the procedure itself was a piece of cake!”

St. Elizabeth’s is the only hospital in Boston to make this FDA-approved procedure available to patients with severe asthma. Between March and May, Patricia received the three-part bronchial thermoplasty procedure performed by the pulmonary medicine team at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center under the direction of Armin Ernst, MD, chief of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care.

“I haven’t touched my inhaler since the first procedure,” she said.

That’s amazing considering how debilitating her asthma had been for so long. In one instance, her attack was so bad, that she collapsed on her kitchen floor. She couldn't muster enough breath to yell for help, but thankfully she was able to bang her fist on the floor to alert her son who was in their basement at the time. 

"It affected my life in every way imaginable,” said Patricia, a Braintree, Massachusetts grandmother and speech pathologist in an area school. “I couldn't do things all my friends could do. I couldn't walk with my friends. I could only exercise with my inhaler in my hand.  I was waiting for the other shoe to fall and expected to be felled by an asthma attack at any time.”

“I expected to die. I really did.”

Now, she’s an active grandmother, regularly exercising, walking four times a week and playing with her grandchildren. Just recently, she was asked to join a support group of asthma sufferers, but she declined.

“I don’t consider myself an asthma sufferer anymore.”

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