Norwalk Hospital’s Dr. Seth Sullivan Honored With Vasculitis Foundation RED (Recognizing Excellence in Diagnostics) Award

Western Connecticut Health Network
Dr. Seth Sullivan

NORWALK, Connecticut – June 3, 2016 - Dr. Seth Sullivan, Clinical Educator/Hospitalist at Norwalk Hospital, has received the 2016 Vasculitis Foundation RED (Recognizing Excellence in Diagnostics) Award. 

Dr. Sullivan was nominated for this prestigious award by New Canaan resident and former patient David Tait.

Mr. Tait came to meet Dr. Sullivan following a medical emergency that was precipitated by a series of seemingly unrelated health issues.  David was healthy for most of his life, until, in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal he was felled by his second heart attack in six weeks. After four days in a New York hospital’s intensive care unit, Mr. Tait was discharged but a day later, feeling “sick as a dog,” he came to the ER at Norwalk Hospital. While there, as Mr. Tait puts it, “I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Sullivan and that’s when things started to get better.”  

Intrigued by his unusual medical history, Dr. Sullivan and his team started to dig into Mr. Tait’s copious medical files from all the health care providers who had been involved in his care for the previous couple of years.  Within a few days Dr. Sullivan managed to connect the dots and put the puzzle together – correctly identifying and diagnosing Churg-Strauss Syndrome, an extremely rare form of vasculitis that was the singular cause of all Mr. Tait’s seemingly unconnected ailments.

Dr. Sullivan said, “In researching David’s medical history and taking into consideration all his late-onset medical problems, we were able to look at the big picture. This wide-angled view led us to the correct diagnosis and we concluded that David had a very rare form of vasculitus or an inflammation of the blood vessels that accounted for the issues related to his heart and other organs.”

Dr. Sullivan explained that one of the greatest challenges faced by patients with vasculitis is lack of a definitive diagnosis. Patients often spend months, even years, seeking a diagnosis or worse, living with a misdiagnosis and resulting ineffective treatments.

“A medical school professor once told me that it is an honor and privilege to work with patients. Working with Mr. Tait drove this point home for me. From a set of initially confusing symptoms to the eventual diagnosis of a rare disease, it was my honor and privilege to work with David and his family. I’m thrilled that the diagnosis resulted in potentially life-changing treatment, and I’m humbled by David’s gratitude and trust. Needless to say I’m delighted that Mr. Tait is doing so well and I’m thankful that I was involved with his care,” said Dr. Sullivan.

Jason R. Orlinick, MD, Ph.D., FACP and Chairman, Norwalk Hospital Department of Medicine said, “I have had the good fortune to work with Dr. Sullivan for many years and cannot think of a better recipient of this award.  He is among the most thoughtful and caring physicians I have met and am fortunate to have him as a colleague.” 

Mr. Tait shared that having a reputable hospital like Norwalk Hospital that is close to his New Canaan home is incredibly important. “I’ve never had anything but tremendous experiences here. When you can relate to the doctor who is overseeing your care, it makes for an altogether more comforting experience.  To Dr. Sullivan and all of the wonderful staff at Norwalk Hospital who cared for me over the last 18 months, I say an incredible and heartfelt thank you.”

Click here to learn more about David’s story and the Norwalk Hospital team.

Click here to learn more about the Vasculitis Foundation.