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Dr. Ezell Askew and the AIRS Clinic: Community-Based Care for Pain

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At the AIRS Clinic in Lodi, Dr. Ezell Askew and his staff are helping improve the quality of life for patients suffering from pain with minimally invasive procedures.

The clinic, located at 610 S. Fairmont, Lodi, California, has two operating rooms, several procedure rooms and six patient treatment rooms. The clinic opened with the encouragement of the late Dr. Darius Noori, a beloved Lodi doctor who died in a bicycling accident in 2016. “He was my biggest cheerleader; he said, ‘You can do it,’” Dr. Askew related. “Most of what interventional radiologists do is done in hospital settings and he was the one who encouraged me to have a clinic.” The current clinic is the third iteration and has cutting-edge technology to provide comfort.

Pain is Unique to Each Person
There are countless underlying causes of pain, according to Dr. Askew, most of which can be treated at AIRS Clinic after a careful evaluation and attention to the patient’s description of what they are experiencing. Conditions such as arthritis, cervical spine disorders, degenerative disc diseases and spinal conditions, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc diseases, uterine fibroids and more can cause pain that impacts quality of life and even longevity.

Dr. Askew served in the U.S. Air Force before attending medical school through the U.S. Armed Forces. He is board certified in interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology. “We treat a lot of spine pain,” he said. “Spine pain and vascular diseases are much of the day-to-day cases that we see.”

State-of-the Art Interventions
For cancer patients, the AIRS Clinic provides interventional oncology. “We can go into the liver and kidneys to perform regional ablation,” he said, adding that the procedure targets cancers without invasive surgery, provides minimal recovery time and has a low risk of complications.

Women suffering from painful fibroids that cause heavy and prolonged periods can avoid hysterectomy and preserve their fertility by undergoing uterine fibroid embolization. “Women need to know that there are other treatments for painful fibroids,” he affirmed.

Patients suffering significant pain from cancers also find comfort at the AIRS Clinic as procedures performed by an interventional radiology specialist deliver pain medication that allows patients to live with dignity with less pain. “The majority of my cancer treatment is cancer pain,” Dr. Askew said. “Bone cancer, pancreatic cancers, metastasized breast cancerif you are having significant pain, we can place a device near the spine that can deliver a pretty potent pain medication that doesn’t knock them out. If I or a family member were to develop a significant cancer with pain, I would definitely want that.”

Saving Lives and Limbs
Patients suffering from vascular disorders brought on by smoking, obesity or Type-2 diabetes have found that Dr. Askew and his team are able to treat them with lasers or other innovative practices without resorting to amputation. “There are over 150,000 amputations in the U.S. each year,” he said, adding that more can be done to avoid loss of limb, such as imaging guidance that allows him to look inside a patient’s blood vessels to find the cause of blockage and treat it.

Much of Dr. Askew’s day is spent listening deeply to his patients, a tactic he finds helps him diagnose and treat people more effectively. “I have had many patients, predominantly women, who are really suffering with pain but were told by other caregivers that ‘it’s all in your head,’” Dr. Askew said. “My mission is to really listen to my patients and form a connection with them so that an appropriate treatment plan can alleviate their chronic pain. We want to be seen, we want to be heard.”

By: Jo Ann Kirby