When Her Temp Hit 108, Every Second Counted: The Story of Xyla Rose
Tyrrita always kissed her daughter Xyla Rose goodbye before leaving for work. In December of 2010, Tyrrita saw something she couldn’t believe.
"When I found her, she wasn't really breathing," said Tyrrita.
Xyla was having a violent seizure and was rushed to Summerville Medical Center. With her temperature hitting 108 degrees, every second was crucial.The medical staff used Trident Health System’s new Artemis system to instantly calculate the amount of pediatric medicine Xyla needed to stop the seizures. Tyrrita says the new web based software gave Xyla Rose the seconds she needed. "The Artemis saved Xyla's life," Tyrrita said.
"They told me if would have been a couple of moments later, your story would be completely different," she said. Xyla Rose is now doing great, and loves spending time with her sister. Trident, Summerville and Moncks Corner Medical Centers are currently the only area hospitals to use Artemis.
Ben Decastro is a miracle patient.
He awoke one morning with sudden severe back pain, sweating, dry mouth and nausea. When his family called EMS, emergency workers first thought he was having a problem with his kidneys. But after being admitted to Trident Medical Center, doctors quickly discovered Ben needed emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm in his abdomen.
After the surgery, Ben was sedated for 13 days while he healed. But it was only the beginning of his medical concerns. Suffering breathing and heart problems, doctors determined Ben needed heart surgery. Because he had just undergone an extensive surgery, they waited a week before performing a triple bypass.
Patients are fortunate to survive just one of those procedures, let alone both an abdominal aortic aneurysm dissection and triple bypass surgery done within days of each other. Ben and his wife Connie are incredibly grateful to the doctors and nurses at The Heart Center for their amazing care. As Connie divided her time between the ICU waiting room and the hospital chapel, doctors and nurses kept her informed of her husband’s condition. “All the nurses were really nice. They were always coming to me and telling me what’s going on,” Connie says.
Ben is going to Summerville Medical Center for his cardiac rehabilitation and his recovery has been smooth – and fast. But that’s not surprising for a miracle patient.
For eight years, doctors had been monitoring Earl Kurtz’ heart murmur without incident, but this summer, his cardiologist didn’t like what he heard. Then came the symptoms – shortness of breath and chest pain. Two weeks later, Kurtz was at The Heart Center at Trident Medical Center for open heart surgery.
Doctors also had discovered a problem with the aortic root, a portion of the heart’s aorta, which supplies blood to the body. To repair the aortic root, Kurtz was in for major surgery that involved chilling his body temperature, draining his blood and taking the heart apart piece by piece to make repairs. Although the surgery lasted 10 hours and Kurtz received 8 pints of blood, the procedure was a success and Kurtz was back on his feet in just two days.
At the age of 72, Kurtz is busy, active and “feeling exceedingly good,” he says. “The surgery definitely put a couple of years on my life that I didn’t expect.” Kurtz takes care of the large vegetable and flower garden at his Goose Creek home, works out regularly and goes camping with his wife and friends.
He credits The Heart Center and its staff for his successful recovery. “I couldn’t give it high enough marks,” he says. “I would highly recommend Trident Medical Center to anybody who needs heart surgery. I should have been dead before I got there, but here I am four months later and I’m kicking.”
When Patricia Pike was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer – the most aggressive form of lung cancer – doctors gave her two years to live. “I said I’ll take whatever I can get,” she recounts.
That was about nine years ago and Patricia is back to enjoying a very active lifestyle. She’s bowling, biking, exercising on the treadmill and giving her house a thorough cleaning each Thursday.
But the road to recovery wasn’t easy. Patricia underwent four chemotherapy treatments and 35 radiation treatments that left her very sick. She lost her hair and her throat was burned from the radiation.
The treatments may have been tough, but her interaction with the staff at Trident’s Cancer Center eased the pain. “They were so good to me,” Patricia says. “They were exceptionally good. I couldn’t say anything bad about them.”
Being rushed to Summerville Medical Center with spinal meningitis was the best thing that could have happened to 44-year-old Tara St.Clair. Once doctors diagnosed and began treating the spinal meningitis, they ran additional tests and ended up sending St.Clair to The Heart Center at Trident Medical Center for a heart catheterization.
It turned out St.Clair had five blockages in her heart and underwent open-heart surgery just before Thanksgiving. It was a truly a life-saving procedure, and St.Clair was fortunate doctors at The Heart Center were able to operate on her heart before she suffered a massive heart attack.
St.Clair soon will be starting cardiac rehabilitation at Summerville Medical Center and has already started making some lifestyle changes – cutting back on the fried foods and eating more vegetables. And she was already watching the sweets to keep her diabetes in check.
Even several months after her surgery, St.Clair remains grateful for the attentive physicians and nursing staff at both Summerville and Trident Medical Centers. “Any time I rang the bell, someone came in right away,” she says. “I got excellent care.”
Heart surgery advances reduce recovery time
Several of Delores Brown’s 24 grandchildren attend the daycare where she teaches in Goose Creek, but the rest of the students want to claim her as their own, too, so they all call her Granny.
Given the number of people counting on her, Brown kept an active schedule and didn’t worry about being tired until other symptoms set in: sore throat, shortness of breath, a rattling cough and a pain she couldn’t ignore. “My body was aching,” she says, her hand pulled over her heart, “right here in my chest.”
Doctors found that her aortic valve wasn’t closing tightly. Instead, it allowed blood to flow back into the heart’s left ventricle, making the heart work even harder. After seeing cardiothoracic surgeon James Benner, MD, she agreed to have her aortic valve replaced, yet was relieved that Dr. Benner planned to do the surgery through a small chest incision.
Trident Health has offered this minimally invasive approach to valve surgery in recent years with great success, says Heart and Vascular Surgery Coordinator Robin Workman, RN, BSN. “Everything about it has to do with what is best for the patient.”
Patients spend less time in the OR, on the breathing machine and in the hospital, she says. They can start moving around faster after surgery, typically have less pain and may return to work earlier, too. At 66, Brown has taken some extra time off, post surgery, but she intends to return to work soon, which will no doubt delight all the Granny fans at daycare.
“Everybody is shocked that I’m doing so well. They didn’t believe I’d had an operation. They just said, ‘How did you do it?’ and I said, ‘I didn’t do anything. It was God and the doctor and his staff.’” She continues, “Now, I’m walking again. I walk every day. I’m feeling good – just some little aches once in a while.”
Dr. Benner also has performed minimally invasive aortic valve replacement surgery on Bryan Thompson, a steelworker and father of four who lives in Summerville. Within a day of his surgery, Thompson was walking around Trident Medical Center, and two days later, he went home. Five days after the surgery, he sat in the stands at one of his son's high school baseball games, though Thompson admits he didn't stand up and cheer.
Thompson’s older brother had an aortic valve replacement done through traditional open heart surgery the year beforehand in Texas. After trading stories, Thompson believes he had less pain than his brother. This March, Thompson marked the first anniversary of his valve replacement, and he says he has fully recovered. “I’m back to 100 percent.”