A Miracle at AAMC
"Minor Miracles" happen daily at hospitals all over the world including Anne Arundel Medical Center. They occur when a child's dangerously high fever suddenly breaks, when the administration of oxygen permits a gasping patient to breathe, when a healthy squeal signals the finale of a difficult labor, when a heart attack victim is successfully resuscitated, when a lump feared cancerous is discovered to be benign.
This is the first of a series of stories with happy endings vignettes that have played out over the past year, with AAMC doctors and nurses as the heroes and heroines.
Kelli Riggsbee, age 24 and 22 weeks pregnant, called her doctor from work to report the sudden onset of severe head pain. He directed her to come immediately to his office at the Medical Park campus. Kelli made it only as far as the Medical Park entrance, where she was overcome by pain. The sight of a woman slumped over the wheel of her car caught the eye of Jim Hooker, a Federal Express driver, who stopped his truck and asked if she needed help. “I’m OK,” said Kelli. Hooker was not convinced.
He reported the incident to Lisa Price, a billing manager in ophthalmologist David Watt’s office, where he was making a delivery. Lisa ran to Kelli’s car, where she found Kelly still conscious but in obvious distress. She then dashed to Dr. William Breuther’s office and called AAMC security for help. AAMC nurse Carrie Murphy, there for an appointment with the doctor, overheard the conversation and volunteered to accompany Lisa back to Kelli’s car.
AAMC security officer Derek Chew was already at the vehicle, where he had found Kelli unconscious. They flagged down a passing ambulance on Jennifer Road and accompanied the patient to AAMC’s downtown Emergency Department. Emergency medicine physician Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt was waiting, and instantly realized the severity of the patient’s condition. An x-ray quickly confirmed her diagnosis of catastrophic intracranial bleeding, and she paged neurosurgeons Clifford Solomon and Brian Sullivan, who were just finishing a case in an operating room down the hall.
Anesthesiologist Victoria Gouze prepared Kelli for surgery. Despite low odds for success (Dr. Solomon says the patient had a 99.9 percent chance of dying), the surgeons decided to operate. They not only stopped the bleeding but removed a life-threatening arteriovenous malformation on the brain. Dr. Solomon said he had “a good feeling” about the case, and knew intuitively that both the young woman and the unborn child would survive.
He was right. The day after surgery, family and friends took up a vigil outside the Intensive Care Unit. Less than a week after surgery, Kelli’s husband Terry took his wife home in time to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with her four-year-old son Tyler, her grandmother Rose Young and other family members who had been praying for her recovery.
In the weeks following her homecoming, Kelli faithfully attended post-op rehab classes at a facility in Eastport specializing in brain injured patients. Dr. Solomon and Dr. Sullivan continue to keep a close eye on their “miracle patient,” and look forward to the birth of Kelli’s baby by Caesarian section sometime in April. “That will make it two miracles,” says Dr. Sullivan. “Kelli’s survival — and her baby’s — depended on the skills and care of so many people at AAMC. We are proud to be part of this team.”
For Email Marketing you can trust