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Legacy Society Member Sharon Clenet-Purpero

Legacy Society Member Sharon Clenet-PurperoSharon Clenet-Purpero calls Sansum Clinic the baby Mayo Clinic of the West Coast. “I love Sansum Clinic!” says Sharon. “The doctors there saved my life – not just once but twice!”

Sharon and her husband Tony are longtime residents of the community who are very appreciative of the excellent medical care they receive from the physicians and medical staff at Sansum.

“It’s an incredible place with the most prestigious, dedicated doctors you could find anywhere. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Sansum for giving me back my life so I can now enjoy the love of my wonderful family, including my husband, my children, and my beautiful grandchildren! I’m so blessed – but I wouldn’t be here without the medical care I’ve received at Sansum.”

In 1986, Sharon was married to Alain Clenet, the designer and manufacturer of classic, retro-style Clenet cars. At the time, they had three young children, Asha, Damien and Troy. Sharon began feeling poorly and attributed it to the fatigue she associated with her busy life and raising her children. One afternoon, she was visiting her friend, Kate Wyatt, whose husband, David, was a physician who eventually worked at Sansum Clinic. He came home, saw that Sharon’s skin and the whites of her eyes were quite yellow and he asked her what was wrong. “Nothing,” she said, dismissing the idea that anything could be seriously amiss. However, Dr. Wyatt was concerned and suggested that she see a doctor immediately. He ordered an extensive blood workup, and insisted she take it the following morning. The results showed she was suffering with a blood disorder and needed a specialist. He made arrangements to have her seen by a very competent, caring physician, at Sansum Clinic, one day later.

Sharon was relieved when she was seen by Dr. Abraham Potolsky, a hematologist at Sansum who specialized in the prevention and treatment of blood disorders. Dr. Potolsky diagnosed Sharon with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. He said her heart was working overtime, which could lead to life threatening complications. He said there were three options – prednisone, a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) and/or chemotherapy. It soon became clear that she needed a splenectomy. “I was fine with that,” says Sharon. “You don’t need your spleen, anyway. Dr. Potolsky was unbelievably thorough and professional – but the most important thing to me was how caring he was. I was rather distraught but Dr. Potolsky was very kind and compassionate. He held my hand and was so reassuring – I went through the surgery with remarkable ease. That wasn’t the end of it. I then had to have chemotherapy, followed by blood transfusions. All in all, it took 18 months but the many-pronged approach worked and suddenly as they’d come on, the problems vanished.

“Dr. Potolsky was so sweet and concerned that I was worried about him in return. Failure was not in his vocabulary when it came to his patients’ treatments and cures. I felt I had to get well! He read everything, sought other opinions, monitored my progress every few days and ordered diagnostic tests to help find a solution. I felt he was personally invested in my recovery. He was my hero and I felt if anyone could cure me, it was him.”

After her recovery, Sharon was very healthy for 25 years when she had to have some surgery on her foot when she was out of town. When she returned home, she had a difficult time healing. She was referred to Dr. David Fisk, an infectious disease doctor at Sansum Clinic. Again, the doctor was extremely caring and very concerned for her wellbeing. “He saw me weekly, prescribed various antibiotics and changed dressings for me for three weeks.

“The doctors found that I was allergic to Betadine solution, the antibacterial medicinal cleanser used prior to performing surgery, as well as for aftercare cleansing and as a topical solution to keep wounds from becoming infected. Wouldn’t you know that I’d be one of the few people in the world who’d be allergic! Once the Betadine was washed away, my foot healed perfectly!

“I really do love the services, doctors, and friendly reputation of your wonderful facility, as well as the ease of navigating Sansum Clinic. I will be forever grateful,” says Sharon. “Being in good health has allowed me to travel with my husband and most importantly, be able to spend time with my children, as well as my beautiful grandchildren, Danielle, Gianna, Olivia and Coco! I’m only too happy to include Sansum Clinic in my estate plan. For me, their doctors, nurses and medical staff are literally lifesavers!”

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