James’s Story

Site created on March 7, 2020

Dear Friends and Family, 
 
As most of you are aware, Jim suffered a significant cardiac event at home the morning of Thursday, March 5. He was rushed to UT Hospital where he has spent most of his career. The team at UT came from all over the hospital to provide excellent care for Jim and were able to get him to a stable state. Their concern was that if we had to take a more interventional approach that they would then no longer be able to provide Jim with the most advance options.

At that time around 5:30 PM our amazing team of physicians recommended that Jim be airlifted by UT LifeStar to St. Thomas Heart Hospital in Nashville, TN. The advanced equipment that St. Thomas is able to provide will allow the physicans to provide Jim with the most beneficial plans. While at St. Thomas, Jim would be under the care of Dr. Ashok Babu, one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the area. 

On Friday, March 6 in the early morning around 1:00 AM Jim arrived at St. Thomas in Nashville, TN. The LifeStar team kept us up-to-date with phone calls during the transport. Emily, Lizzi, Justin (son-in-law), John (soon to be son-in-law), and I drove from Knoxville to Nashville and arrived at the hospital around 2:30 AM. Upon arrival, we met with the team taking care of Jim and got an update that his transfer went well, all of the machines (Impella, stent and pace leads) were working correctly. 

At 6:00 AM on Friday, March 6 the new physician, Dr. Babu, evaluated Jim’s condition and reported that his condition was stable after the transfer. We were reassured to learn that Jim looked better and was doing better than many of the patients at St. Thomas.

Doctors have taken the past few days to allow Jim’s body and heart to rest before beginning to make changes to his treatment. He is on a ventilator and sedation to induce this rest period. There have been many ups and downs but his heart function is improving and they have be able tp removed the Impella (a device that is fed into the heart to assist with the flow of blood to allow the heart to rest). His Ejection Fraction has improved and we are hopeful it will continue. Miraculously, it appears his other vital organs have sustained little to no damage. Tomorrow, the doctors will begin to wean Jim from the ventilator.

This is a very brief summary of the last five days. We have decided to set-up a Caring Bridge to keep our friends and family informed of Jim’s progress. The girls and I will post on a regular basis. Jim and I are blessed with many people we love and it has become a real task to keep everyone informed via text … we hope you understand that all of our energy is going to help Jim recover and come back to us.

We have rented an Airbnb in Nashville. The girls, John, and Justin will be with me until Sunday, March 15. Their employers are allowing all to work remotely this week. Friends have stocked our place with food, so we are good. Our only need is for Jim to come home with me and continue to be the center of our family.

Please continue to pray for complete healing for Jim.

Love,
Mary
Lizzi and Justin
Emily and John

Newest Update

Journal entry by Mary Neutens

May 22... hopefully the last post on Caring Bridge but I have heard from a few they wanted an update. Jim has made good progress since arriving home. He was released from PT and started Cardiac Rehab this week. This will help increase his endurance. He still needs to gain weight but we are working on that. Thank you all for your support, prayers and support of Caring Bridge that has allowed us to keep everyone updated. To say we are grateful is not enough. We look forward to life getting back to normal and to seeing many of you soon. Take care of yourselves and those you love. With love and appreciation... Mary
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