LAFAYETTE –  UL Lafayette Softball Head Coach Michael Lotief has become the first person in the U.S. to receive a state-of-the-art tracheostomy valve at University Hospital & Clinics (UHC).

According to Lafayette General Health spokesperson Alex Labat, on Wednesday, October 26, the Speech and Occupational Therapy team at UHC met with Lotief to deliver a ProTrach DualCare tracheostomy valve.

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 2015.

“I knew he would be a perfect candidate for the ProTrach DualCare," says Tammy Marks, Speech and Occupational Therapy Manager at UHC. 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.”

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.

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.”