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Julie Johnson still walks on two feet because of the lifesaving care she received from Pima Heart & Vascular and Tucson Medical Center.

As a mother and grandmother, Julie is experienced in this business of fixing people’s “boo-boos”. What she didn’t expect, was to develop a life-threatening infection when a scrape on her shin wasn’t thoroughly cleaned.

Julie developed necrotizing fasciitis, a rapidly spreading infection that causes muscle tissue to die. Within two days of her injury, Julie’s severe pain warranted a trip to the emergency room.

Julie’s vascular surgeon, Dr. Robert Fincher evaluated the ominous bacteria that was destroying her tissue and decided that he needed to act quickly.

“If left untreated, this would rapidly progress into  a life threatening illness or an amputation,” he says.

Under a team of care, Julie endured a series of 12 surgeries and more than 50 days in the hospital to save her life — and her leg.

Oftentimes limb-salvage cases are associated with other diseases such as peripheral arterial disease or diabetes, but in Julie’s case, vascular intervention is what saved her leg.

“Dr. Fincher is a miracle worker. There is something so reassuring about his presence that makes you feel safe,” says Julie.Dr. Fincher states that Julie’s recovery was a collaborative effort between himself, the patient, skilled nursing facility, and wound care team.

“I try and care for every patient as if they are a family member,” says Dr. Fincher.  “I know this is someone’s mother, sister, or grandmother.”

Julie speaks highly of the care she received during her time in the hospital, and after.

“This has been the most painful experience I have ever had but the care and the warmth from everyone made it so much more bearable,” says Julie.

Dr. Fincher is pleased with Julie’s recovery and she is happy to be able walk and play with her grandkids. She is hopeful that in the next year, she will reach the goal of riding her motorcycle one again.

Julie offers one word of caution to others, “Wash your boo- boos.”


The doctors at Pima Heart & Vascular offer innovative endovascular procedures that are focused on limb salvage which can help prevent amputation. The goal of endovascular intervention treatment is to revascularize the affected limbs, which requires a highly skilled surgeon who is experienced in endovascular techniques.