How telemedicine is proving effective in treating patients during the pandemic

WEST CHESTER (WPVI) -- A local man's story is offering proof that telemedicine can be very effective.

He's been able to have regular access to his doctor at Temple Health while living part-time in Montana. And when he was having trouble with his pulmonary hypertension, she was able to get him back to doing the things he loves.

78-year-old Ted Newell of West Chester was really struggling with his pulmonary hypertension.

"I couldn't walk from my house to the mailbox and get the mail and bring it back. I would be panting out of breath. I couldn't take the trash cans down, just common everyday things," he said.

Pulmonary hypertension is a form of heart disease. Newell is on oxygen most of the time, but he was still struggling to breathe.

He and his wife, Vickey, live part-time in Montana, so seeing his doctors at Temple Health would have been nearly impossible if it weren't for telemedicine. A call to Dr. Anjali Vaidya turned his life around.

"She could look at his neck, have him turn and look at his neck and see the pressure; see what's happening and they upped his medication," said Mrs. Newell.

"There's something in cardiology called jugular venous pressure. It's the physical exam of the veins in the neck," said Dr. Vaidya, Co-director of the Pulmonary Hypertension, Right Heart Failure and CTEPH program. "Being able to do that carefully over video has been immensely useful and accurate in this COVID pandemic."

"She has just turned him around totally. We can live our lives now," said Mrs. Newell.

Living their lives is just what they are doing. Mr. Newell works around the house and he even exercises.

"What they do is add years to your life. So I'm able to do things. I actually do karate, I'm a brown belt," he said.

Temple Health offers telemedicine for a variety of disciplines so if you're in doubt it's best to call and ask before you decide to forego an in-person appointment.
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