When he was just 13 months old, Mark Sulzman was learning to walk when a stumble and fall caused a cut on his lip. But when his lip wouldn’t stop bleeding, his parents rushed him to the hospital.
A short time later, he was diagnosed with severe hemophilia, an inherited disorder that prevents blood from clotting and a disease that led to his grandfather’s death at age 45. Mark, 54 and a native of Cleveland, has been managing his disorder ever since.
When he turned 16, synthetic proteins that help blood clot became available and changed Mark’s life dramatically. “I didn’t have to drag a cooler around with me everywhere I went,” he recalled thankfully. Over time, he learned to manage his disease, relying on home treatments as much as possible.
A job transition brought Mark to Columbus more than 18 years ago. He reached out to the OSUCCC — James right away. Familiar with the hospital’s reputation, he knew he would have the best care.
For the past eight years, Eric Kraut, MD, has been his doctor. “He is a brilliant guy,” Mark said of Dr. Kraut. “But thankfully, I don’t have to see him very often.”
He credits Dr. Kraut for helping manage his hemophilia and appreciates that he is always there when needed. “I had to have several surgeries, and Dr. Kraut and his team coordinated everything beautifully,” Mark said.
Nowadays, treatment for hemophilia has improved to the point that Mark can treat himself at home in about five minutes each day.
He still visits the OSUCCC — James once a year for checkups, but his disease is stable, so most of his time is spent with the nurses and physical therapy team.
Mark said one thing he is really impressed with is the continuity of care model that the OSUCCC — James is implementing. He explains that this means that when he visits for his yearly checkup, all the services he needs are coordinated across departments.
Most of the time, he doesn’t even have to leave the building.
He said having access to newer treatments and experts such as those found at the OSUCCC — James has allowed him to live his life as normally as possible.
To overcome issues with hemophilia you have to keep a positive attitude, Mark said. “Be your own advocate.”