Samantha Bertelson

First post: Feb 20, 2018 Latest post: Feb 26, 2020
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On Friday, February 9th Samantha had her VP shunt (drains spinal fluid off her brain as her own body is unable to do this for her) replaced. By Monday she was not herself, sleeping too much, irritable and generally just didn't seem well.  The hope was after two big surgeries she was taking a bit more time to bounce back. Her decline progressed over the next several days until she spiked a temp on Thursday afternoon and surgical site was noted to have sudden swelling. 

We brought her into the emergency room where they worked her up from head to toe. The initial thought was she had a bladder infection and her surgical site was just some swelling from surgery or a bit of fluid leaking that would eventually resolve. She was admitted to St. Mary's at that time. 

Through a progression of tests, an increase in seizure activity and the eventual drainage of pus from her shunt surgical site they then decided she had an infection in that shunt. She was then taken urgently to surgery to remove the shunt, clean the pus out of the site and place a temporary external shunt system (called an EVD) to do the work while they clear the infection from her body. 

She has been running high temps, up to 104 over the last few days.  On Sunday night her EVD stopped working. So today she has been taken back to surgery to remove the EVD device and to remove the piece of her original shunt that they feel continues to harbor infection and is continuing to cause her fever and  malaise. She will return to us soon with a new EVD device and a PICC line for long term antibiotics and so she doesn't have to be poked at for lab draws twice per day.   We will update when she returns to us. 

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