Ailing Voetsch takes more time off

5/17/2012
BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
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WTOL anchor-reporter Melissa Voetsch.

The Blade

WTOL anchor-reporter Melissa Voetsch.
WTOL anchor-reporter Melissa Voetsch.

Nearly five months after returning to work, WTOL-TV, Channel 11, anchor-reporter Melissa Voetsch has taken another medical leave. Voetsch, who suffers from cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart and a leaky valve, posted on her Facebook page that she is "taking some more time to continue my healing.

"My heart is strong ... it just needs a bit more time to heal completely," she wrote. "I'll keep you posted. I will follow doctors orders and take this time to rest and recover fully. Again my deepest thanks and gratitude for the support of all WTOL 11 viewers."

Voetsch suffered a bout with pneumonia in August, and said in a previous interview with The Blade that doctors believe a virus from that episode infected her heart, leading to cardiomyopathy. After doctors successfully treated Voetsch, she began rehab treatments before returning to the air.

WTOL announced to viewers that Voetsch was off the air beginning Monday and on an "extended break ... to make sure she's 100 percent healthy."

"As many of you remember, Mel took some time last year to recover from a serious virus that attacked her heart," station management said in a statement. "The good news is that she continues to improve every day and this break is what doctors think she'll need to fully recover."

Taking over for Voetsch is Lisa Rantala, who will co-anchor WTOL's Your Morning 4:30 to 7 a.m. weekday newscasts for the next two weeks, before leaving for WSYX-TV Columbus, and Tina Shaerban, who will co-host the 9 to 10 a.m. weekday Your Day newscasts. A replacement anchor might be hired to temporarily fill in as well.

Contact Kirk Baird atkbaird@theblade.comor 419-724-6734.