CCU med­i­cal team fought along­side crit­i­cally ill pa­tient Lori Browne

The Expositor (Brantford) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

When Lori Browne en­tered the Emer­gency Depart­ment of the Brant­ford Gen­eral Hospi­tal on March 2 - her 59th birth­day - she had no idea she was in for the fight of her life.

Lucky for her, Brant­ford Gen­eral med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als were there to fight right along with her.

“There were sev­eral peo­ple that were all in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing her back to us,” Lori’s sis­ter Cindi Browne, who has worked at the Brant­ford Gen­eral for over 30 years, said of hospi­tal staff. “They were amaz­ing.”

Lori is one of four very close-knit sis­ters who are prac­ti­cally tied at the hip. So when her sis­ters called to de­liver birth­day wishes to Lori on that fate­ful day, it didn’t take them long to fig­ure out some­thing was se­ri­ously wrong.

“I called to wish her a happy birth­day and she was talk­ing re­ally wonky,” Cindi re­called. “So then I called my sis­ter Dori (Atto) and I said ‘Lori’s not well.’”

When Dori phoned she could tell that Lori was strug­gling to breathe.

“I said ‘get ready we’re go­ing to come and get you be­cause this isn’t nor­mal,’” Dori said.

Lori’s symp­toms ap­peared much worse while she was be­ing triaged at the Emer­gency Depart­ment.

“She couldn’t func­tion prop­erly and she couldn’t even get her jacket off,” Dori said. “They took her right from triage into Zone 1. They checked her over and then sud­denly things started mov­ing even quicker. I was get­ting re­ally kind of scared.”

As nurses and physi­cians did a thor­ough as­sess­ment of Lori, Dori called her sis­ters Cindi and Jeri Wid­er­ick to tell them Lori’s con­di­tion was se­ri­ous. The care Lori was re­ceiv­ing gave the sis­ters a much greater sense of ease.

“They were re­ally nur­tur­ing,” Dori said of the nurses. “She was re­ally right out of it and at one point I thought she was cod­ing. It was ter­ri­ble.

“They pushed me out of the room and when I came back - I don’t even know what they did for her - she was spry again.”

Un­for­tu­nately that was just the be­gin­ning of a nine-week or­deal that saw Lori slip­ping to the brink of death and back again. She was placed in the Crit­i­cal Care Unit (CCU) where she spent close to two months un­der the care of Dr. Damien Med­ina along with other In­ten­sivists and a ded­i­cated team of nurses and health­care pro­fes­sion­als.

“Dr. Med­ina was awe­some,” Dori said. “He took ev­ery sin­gle ques­tion we could think of to ask and an­swered it for us.”

A thor­ough med­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted, in­clud­ing X-rays and an EKG, with an ex­haus­tive lab­o­ra­tory anal­y­sis fi­nally con­clud­ing that Lori had con­tracted a se­vere in­fec­tion re­sult­ing in dou­ble pneu­mo­nia. This had even­tu­ally caused her to be­come sep­tic.

“The whole time she had high anx­i­ety,” Cindi said. “But the staff were just in­cred­i­ble. They brought us up (to CCU) and ex­plained ev­ery­thing; they al­ways kept us in the loop with what was go­ing on.”

“They also talked to Lori and made sure that she was com­fort­able,” Dori added.

Lori’s sis­ters were al­ways at her side, of­ten tak­ing turns to en­sure Lori had sis­terly sup­port at all times.

“They kept me go­ing,” Lori said. “Not only are they my sis­ters, they’re my best friends. They kept me putting one foot in front of the other and fight­ing hard.”

Lori was put on an in­ten­sive per­son­al­ized med­i­ca­tion reg­i­men, but the roller coaster ride wasn’t over yet. She had an ad­verse re­ac­tion to sev­eral med­i­ca­tions, de­vel­oped a car­diac con­di­tion, her kid­neys started shut­ting down and she had a tra­cheostomy placed in her neck for pro­longed res­pi­ra­tory sup­port. Even­tu­ally she was put into an in­duced coma to re­cover.

“You name it, and it hap­pened to her,” Jeri said. “For a cou­ple of weeks what­ever could go wrong went wrong.”

“We didn’t know from day-to-day what we were go­ing to come into,” Cindi said. “At that point it was touch and go.”

Through it all the sis­ters knew Lori was in good hands of the many med­i­cal ex­perts that made up her team.

“They dealt with it so calmly and they kept us calm,” Cindi said.

Then one day they hit a turn­ing point and the sis­ters knew Lori was go­ing to be fine.

Lori had to learn to walk and talk again and did so with the help of the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion team.

From the house­keep­ing and nutri­tion staff, to the physi­cians, nurses and PSWs, “ev­ery­thing was pos­i­tive, pos­i­tive, pos­i­tive. Noth­ing was too small and noth­ing was too big for them to han­dle,” Lori said of the care she re­ceived dur­ing her long hospi­tal stay.

“I do want to give ku­dos to the doc­tors too,” Cindi said. “We had a lot of ques­tions and they re­ally did lis­ten to us. I can­not say enough about the care Lori re­ceived. She was treated like a per­son with a fam­ily.”

Lori agreed.

“Be­cause of them and my sis­ters there was nowhere to go but up,” she said. “They saved me and you can’t put a price on that.”

Cindi ad­mits there are times when “the hospi­tal some­times gets a bad rap, but I’ve never been so im­pressed; the care is ex­cel­lent.

“The staff is do­ing the best they can and peo­ple in our com­mu­nity need to know that they re­ally, re­ally do care.”

As the Browne fam­ily knows first-hand, when a health cri­sis or emer­gency af­fects you or a loved one, Brant Com­mu­nity Health­care Sys­tem is here to pro­vide ex­cep­tional, pro­fes­sional and com­pas­sion­ate care in your time of need.

Be­hind each suc­cess of the Brant Com­mu­nity Health­care Sys­tem (BCHS) Foun­da­tion is the gen­eros­ity of our com­mu­nity, our donors and vol­un­teers. This con­tin­ued com­mit­ment has en­abled us to put our pa­tients first by help­ing us to pro­vide the right equip­ment, at the right time, when it mat­ters most.

Now is the time to make a dif­fer­ence, please con­sider mak­ing a gift to­day that is mean­ing­ful to you, and sup­port a strong health­care sys­tem for our com­mu­nity.

Your con­tin­ued sup­port plays an im­por­tant part in al­low­ing us to pro­vide qual­ity pa­tient care. Thank you!

From left: PT Char­lie Lan­doni, RT Seema Forouzan­deh, RN Elysia Skrzypek, RN Char­lotte Mar­shall, ESA Shel­ley Mul­li­gan, ENT Sur­geon Dr. Allen Lam, Clin­i­cal Man­agerof the Crit­i­cal Care Unit and Res­pi­ra­tory Ther­apy – Barb Longo, Jeri Wid­er­ick, grate­ful pa­tient Lori Browne and In­ten­sivist Dr. Damien Med­ina.

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