(written by Miriam B, Daughter of Maria)
In March of 2014, Maria T. had surgery to replace a hernia mesh. For weeks, she had been complaining of pain and discharges in the area so she was taken to the E.R. after fainting. After discussion with her family, she had surgery and came through fine. While in the hospital she contracted pneumonia twice, septicemia and went into respiratory arrest. As a result she was connected to a ventilator and had a tracheostomy and was discharged to her home under hospice.
For the next 8 months she was confined to her bed and not seen by a pulmonologist or an internist. In all of those months, the tracheostomy was never changed, the ventilator settings never re-checked, and her oxygen saturation on and off of the vent was never evaluated. No results were ever transmitted to the family and no changes made to her treatment. The hospice physician visited every 2 weeks to check her vital signs but could not provide and assessment of my mother’s condition. The family and my mom’s PCP tried, in vain, to have a pulmonologist or an internist visit and evaluate her. The standard response we got: “we do not make house calls”. My mother required 24/7 care and both parents were under threat from social services if the social worker caught then alone at home they would be sent to a nursing home. It was then I decided to bring her to New Mexico for better treatment and to evaluate her need for continuation on the ventilator.
To transport her to the U.S., physicians from the U.S. and Puerto Rico needed to communicate. We initially contacted Presbyterian Hospital, but a problem arose: all inquiries made by U.S. Physicians to the physicians connected to my mother’s case were not responded to. Presbyterian Hospital was reluctant to admit her without sufficient medical information and recommended we contact AMG Specialty Albuquerque Hospital.
The admitting staff at AMG was very helpful and worked hard to obtain the necessary medical information needed. They worked tirelessly and after many phone calls and correspondence with physicians in Puerto Rico my mother was air ambulance to AMG on January 8, 2015. Within 1 week my mother was disconnected from the ventilator and two weeks later the tracheostomy was removed. She was breathing room air on her own and existing very nicely at Albuquerque’s altitude of 5000 feet. In addition she was taught to swallow and sat in a chair for the first time in many months. She was then transferred to a rehab center.
Her recovery is ongoing, but more important she has quality of life. None of this would be possible if not for the hard working staff at AMG Albuquerque. Thank you to all of them.