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Patient Stories

Patient Stories

Breast Cancer: Elizabeth Baldo-Downs

On a routine mammogram, an abnormal lymph node triggered a series of events: a follow-up ultrasound, the finding of a spot on Elizabeth’s breast and her diagnosis of cancer. Elizabeth’s research led her to Dr. John Crew at DCH. Multiple times she was told that he was the best doctor for her treatment. At her first chemo appointment, Elizabeth recalls she broke down in tears, “I was terrified. Nurse Jo came in, held my hand and cried with me.” Elizabeth knew, in that moment, she had made the right decision to have her cancer treatments at DCH. Through multiple rounds of chemo, care and compassion were shown to her at every visit. Elizabeth shares she “never felt rushed” with Dr. Crew and “trusted him completely” with her care. He assured Elizabeth that her treatment plan and advice is the same he would tell his mother or sister if they were in this situation. Because of the kindness and compassion of the DCH staff, Elizabeth gives back to other Lewis and Faye Manderson breast cancer patients. She makes Bags of Hope containing products free of harsh chemicals and includes a hand-written note of support and encouragement in each bag. Elizabeth feels the team at DCH saved her life and the empathy shown to her along the way made all the difference. Elizabeth cheerfully pays it forward to others battling breast cancer. Watch her story.

COVID: Pam Pierson

In October of 2020, Pam and her husband Larry were admitted to DCH with bilateral COVID pneumonia. They were separated during their treatment. Nurse Debra went out of her way to help them communicate with one another and was understanding of Larry’s mental stress caused by his pre-existing Alzheimer’s condition. Pam longed to comfort him but was undergoing her own care. Debra went above and beyond showing compassion – sitting with Pam and offering emotional support and encouragement during this difficult time. Debra’s wisdom and kindness set Pam’s mind at ease during their hospital stay. Following Larry’s death, Pam recalled Debra’s words of advice that again comforted her as she began to move through her grief. Even now, long after Debra cared for them, Pam says, “Nurse Debra is my DCH angel.” Watch her story.

Heart: Dee Chambers

No one wants to have an emergency while away on vacation, but that’s exactly what happened to Dee. An avid skier and overall active person, she was out of state on a family trip when she had a Takotsubo event – her heart was stressed, but it was not a heart attack. Cutting her ski vacation short, she returned to Tuscaloosa to be evaluated by Dr. Aaron Hoffman, a cardiothoracic surgeon at DCH. He determined she needed a quadruple bypass, quickly got his team together and talked her through the surgery process. Nervous and anxious about her condition, Dee noted that Dr. Hoffman’s team was exactly who she needed to treat her, and DCH was the place she needed to be. “They were all tuned in to me,” stated Dee, “and it was a very pleasant experience, if that can be the case with this type of thing.” Months since her surgery, Dee is back to doing activities she has always enjoyed. Watch her story.

DCH SpineCare: Scott Ridings

Across nine years, Scott had three neck surgeries and two back surgeries to address pain caused by a degenerative disc disease. The SpineCare Center treated Scott after each surgery. Normally a fairly active person, Scott longed to get back to his normal way of life. His last surgery was nearly two years ago. Through therapies and treatment at The SpineCare Center, Scott has improved. “My range of motion and stamina have returned,” he said. Scott is once again able to comfortably do the activities he enjoys – working in his yard, playing golf, petting his dog, Willow, and caring for his chickens. Treatment was demanding at times to achieve progress, but Scott is grateful to now be in a season of maintenance. “Dr. Spruill and Wendi have been just outstanding. I have received great care because of them, and they are super people to be around.” Watch his story.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): Jasmine Jones & Rawlings

DCH’s educational CPR training program “Just in Time” helped Jasmine save her baby’s life. Rawlings (her son) was in the NICU for 11 weeks. Jasmine was at DCH every day caring for him as much as she could. Watching the CPR video is a requirement of the NICU parents upon discharge. Jasmine recalls repeatedly hearing the video as other parents watched before their children were discharged. She grew tired of hearing the instructor over and over. Now she’s thankful to have heard the CPR instructions so often to have them committed to memory. When it was Rawlings’ turn to leave, they had only been home for three hours, when he suddenly stopped breathing. Thanks to DCH, she knew exactly what to do and performed CPR on her son. Jasmine is thankful to the NICU at DCH for providing her with the tools to save her son’s life. Others in her home have since watched the video and practiced on the “Just in Time” training doll also provided by DCH. Rawlings still has some growing to do, but he’s getting stronger every day. As Jasmine reflects on those weeks with Rawlings at DCH until now, she tells us, “they really have become like my family”. Watch their story.

Fayette Medical Center Emergency Department: Blake & Noah Thompson

One afternoon Blake’s children were playing in the creek at the back edge of their property. Blake’s son, Noah, was bitten several times on the foot by a cottonmouth snake. Noah was rushed to the Emergency Department at Fayette Medical Center. Time was of the essence, and Blake recalled how quickly the security guard and Emergency Department nurses sprang into action. Blake was swiftly ushered through security and arrived by Noah’s side as the first vial of antivenom was administered. After a total of 15 vials of venin and many answered prayers, Noah is back to enjoying his adventures outdoors. Blake is grateful for the immediate response and professionalism of the staff at Fayette Medical Center and credits Noah’s full recovery to their exceptional care. “Know that you [medical staff] are prayed for. Know your work doesn’t go unnoticed. Thanks again for all you do. May God bless you all.”