Doris Smith

First post: 2/21/2017 Latest post: 4/4/2017
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On Friday, February 3, 2017, Doris was admitted to Sentara Potomac Hospital for difficulty breathing.  After tests it was determined she had a severe case of pneumonia among other issues.  She was immediately placed on a round of antibiotics and a CPAP machine to help with her breathing and oxygen levels.  After 24 hours her oxygen levels decreased significantly and her heart as well as kidneys began failing.  She was sedated and intubated so her body would not fail while fighting for oxygen.  While intubated several additional tests were were run which discovered there was bacteria present in her blood stream and the infection spread to her heart among other complex issues.  However, her lungs were slowly improving and the artificial valve that was surgically implanted in April 2000 was still functioning OK.  


After showing improvements,  she was  extubated on February 13, but doctors were concerned this was to soon.  She slowly began responding to her name and holding brief conversations from Monday to Thursday February 15. During these days she was seen by Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapists to determine what level of care she would require next.  Based on their findings as well as the expertise of the doctors monitoring her over the last two weeks,  it was determined she would be transferred to a Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH), which can provide emergency medical services as well as rehabilitation services.


On the 16th, her oxygen levels began to decrease and she was placed back on a bypass breather.   Doctors conducted additional blood cultures, CT scans and tests.  The results  of these tests discovered a "new" pneumonia, another minor infection and a new bacteria growth.   Her medications were adjusted accordingly.  On Friday, February 17th,  very suddenly she took a downturn and was reintubated.  As of today, (February 21) she is still sedated and intubated, with no estimated date of another attempt at extubation.


Doctors explained that a normal patient, without her heart condition would have rebounded better from this pneumonia.  Due to her underlying medical issues and complex medical history,  her body is not responding to the antibiotics and treatment as quickly as others.  The infection in her heart is further complicating her healing.  She is still considered to be in critical condition, but overall stable as long as she is intubated.  It is our hope that her body begins to respond to the treatments provided and she will make a full recovery.

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