Mom thanks CAMC team that saved her life
07/31/2013 - The Charleston Gazette. By By Laura Reston.
CHARLESTON - Alicia Petry woke up on an unfamiliar hospital bed six months ago and immediately reached down to feel her stomach. It was flat. Panicking, she asked where her baby was.
Petry had been comatose for about six weeks. She remembered arriving at the hospital, pregnant and gasping for breath, but nothing else.
Petry almost died on the operating table when her heart had stopped beating during an emergency cesarean section at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital about eight months ago.
Patients rarely recover from such serious trauma, said Stephen Bush, the physician at West Virginia University Charleston/CAMC who performed the operation.
Today, however, Petry is on the road to recovery. Her son, Easton, now eight months old, also came through surgery without any serious complications.
"She's our miracle patient," Bush said. "It's so unusual for this to happen."
On Tuesday, Petry returned to CAMC Women and Children's Hospital to thank the doctors and nurses who had saved her life. Beneath her ruffled blue shirt, Petry still has vivid scars from where the doctors cracked her chest during surgery.
Although the frail blonde entered the hospital conference room somewhat nervously, she immediately walked around the room to hug each nurse and doctor. Nearby, a healthy Easton squalled as he was passed from nurse to nurse.
"It feels good," Petry said. "I finally get to thank them properly."
Each person had a story for Petry about the day she first arrived at the emergency room.
Alvin Castillo, her anesthesiologist, remembers summoning Petry's family from the waiting room. He wanted to give them a last chance to see their daughter alive. But somehow, she managed to cling to life.
"I am so thrilled to see you," Castillo said.
Bush said that the whole team had a special connection to Petry.
"It's such an emotional thing for all of us," he said.
He had to work for two grueling hours to keep Petry alive on the operating table before they could transport her to CAMC Memorial hospital.
Petry eventually went to the Cleveland Clinic, where she has spent the last several months undergoing intensive treatment.
She seems to be on the mend. On Tuesday, Petry wore a pump that lets her heart rest while it recovers. She also said she might not need a heart transplant.
"I'm stubborn," Petry said. "I'm not going anywhere."