Ragin’ Cajuns Head Softball Coach First in U.S. to Receive New Medical Device

10/28/2016

On Wednesday, October 26, UL Lafayette Softball Head Coach Michael Lotief became the first person in the U.S. to receive a state-of-the-art tracheotomy valve at University Hospital & Clinics (UHC).

The Speech and Occupational Therapy team at UHC met with Lotief to deliver a long-awaited promise. “I promised him he would be the first in the U.S. to be fitted with the ProTrach DualCare,” said Julie Bishop-Leone, Director of Clinical Education with Atos Medical, Inc.

The ProTrach DualCare is a valve that helps restore the natural heat and moisture in the lungs of patients with tracheostomies and enables them to speak.

Lotief began receiving therapy at UHC in July 2015 for swallowing and voice impairments. After an evaluation, a tracheotomy was performed in August of the same year. Since then Lotief has had a remarkable recovery, but has needed to “switch” between two devices in his day-to-day life.

“We’ve been emailing, calling and staying in touch with Atos Medical to see when the device would be available in the U.S.,” says Tammy Marks, Speech and Occupational Therapy Manager at UHC. “Because, I knew he would be a perfect candidate for the ProTrach DualCare. He’s always in extreme conditions, kicking up dust on the softball field while using his voice in coaching and during games. So I knew this would be a perfect solution for him.”

Atos Medical is looking to receive feedback from Lotief about the device. He exemplifies the type of active patient they hope will use this valve. The DualCare valve has a Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME) that restores the natural heat and moisture to the airway that is lost when the patient can no longer breathe through their nose and mouth. This combination with a one way speaking valve provides a “hands-free” method for speech. It also provides a hygienic barrier for those with a stoma.

“In athletics, everybody wants to win all the time,” says Lotief. “When you win, it’s easy for people to pat you on the back and tell you what a great job you’re doing. When you face adversity, struggle, and sometimes even failure, that’s when you need your support structure.

The Cajun people are all about big hearts, love and support. They don’t just love you when you win, they love you when you struggle. I did my speech therapy at UHC every day for about a year. These are my friends. It’s good to see these people that took an interest in my care. Other people in other communities are with you when you’re winning. This community is with you all the time.”

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