After ten weeks in the Wilmington and Christiana Hospitals and well over 50 caregivers, it is extremely difficult to isolate a few caregivers who saved my wife's life. The Wilmington ICU nurses stood out in their skills and compassion in helping her move through the haze generated by three vasopressors, two wide spectrum antibiotics, multiple surgical interventions, hemodialysis, vent dependent respiratory failure and A-fib.
My wife is living proof that the WICU respectfully, expertly and in a caring way, day after day for almost five weeks, helped her recover from a perforated diverticulum of the large intestine, severe abdominal sepsis and related partial failure of her kidneys, lungs and heart. The staff of the WICU enabled her to recover to the point that she was transferred to Christiana’s 3D pulmonary unit and then on to the Wilmington Hospital 6th floor Rehab unit.
My wife underwent emergent, life-saving surgery for perforated diverticulitis and subsequent intra-abdominal sepsis. My daughter and I spent most of the first few days with her. During that time, Kate Armstrong and other WICU nurses, compassionately explained the multiple medicines and their purpose in ways that strengthened our hope that the WICU team was on top of her life-threatening condition and she had a chance to survive.
After two weeks, Dr. Cardenas and the WICU staff felt that she was ready to receive a tracheotomy. We will never forget Brie Crabill walking out of my wife’s room and giving us a thumbs up that the procedure had been successful. Then, moments later, my daughter and I walked down the hall, hearing "code blue" on the loudspeaker system. My wife made it through those subsequent terrifying minutes and it was Brie Crabill, Jamie Feinour, and Jody Penn who comforted us during the following hours. We thought all was lost but Brie, Jamie and Jody helped us hang on.
Over the course of my wife’s stay in the WICU, she had severe chest congestion that required suctioning hourly. Michael Hulme always appeared from somewhere else on the floor and spoke with compassion to her as he went through the very uncomfortable suctioning process to help her clear the congestion. When Michael was not on duty, others would quickly take care of the suctioning. The whole team always gave us the positive feeling that their skills would help her continue to take baby steps forward.
My wife does not remember the first time that Lew Klensch suggested that he take her down to the Healing Garden, but Lew's suggestion and the subsequent experience for us, who were with her, will be in our memories forever. She does remember a subsequent visit with Maryann Wardach and still talks about it. At dinner with a Christiana cardiologist many weeks later, she talked about how lucky Wilmington Hospital is to have it’s very special Healing Garden.
While not on duty for my wife, multiple other staff members would come in smiling and would warmly ask her how she was doing. All of them projected a positive, “you are taking baby steps forward” atmosphere.
Team Members honored with this DAISY TEAM Award:
Luis Cardenas, MD