Samantha Berry is very close to her grandparents, Regina and David. But
the bond between her and David is a bit special, she says, “Of all
the family members, my grandfather seems to feel something different with
me, he listens to my advice and he trusts me to have a good perspective.”
Because of this relationship, Samantha stays very close him when he is
having health challenges, like earlier this year in June when David was
facing heart surgery. It began a journey that provided an interesting
experience for Samantha and her family, leading her to praise Catawba
Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department.
On June 1, David had heart surgery at another hospital, which was performed
successfully and he was able to go home on June 6. The family was pleased
and David seemed to be progressing with his recovery and rehabilitation
in a timely manner.
Two days later, June 8, that changed quickly – he was having difficulty
breathing, and his energy level was low. The family thought David needed
to return to the hospital, and got him to the emergency room in the same
hospital where the surgery was done. There, he was diagnosed with pneumonia
and released for home with treatment for that illness.
When David’s rehab nurse visited him on June 11, he had not been
sleeping and was having continued difficulty with breathing. The nurse
called 911 to have him taken to the hospital, but this time, due to volumes
in the original hospital’s emergency department, David was taken
to Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department. The team
there immediately began doing work-ups on David’s condition, knowing
from the family that he had been diagnosed with pneumonia and recently
had heart surgery. By now, David was clammy, his blood pressure and heart
rates were both very high, and he was delusional and easily agitated –
something Samantha says is rare behavior for her grandfather.
Shortly after their arrival, Dr. Justin Joines came in and introduced himself
to the entire family. He listened intently to what they were telling him,
asked them many questions, then examined David, noting swelling in his
legs and ankles. The doctor then excused himself to review the x-rays
which had already been taken, leaving them all in the hands of the three
nurses who never left their sides. Joines’ return to the room brought
a surprising diagnosis, he had identified congestive heart failure as
the problem, rather than pneumonia. The doctor prescribed medication to
begin immediately in order to give David some relief from the symptoms,
even as Samantha and her family came to grips with the news.
“We were all shocked by the missed diagnosis, asking questions about
how that could happen and trying to understand it all,” says Samantha.
But even as the family discussed that issue, Dr. Joines was already in
action, speaking with the original heart surgeon about David’s condition.
Within 45 minutes to an hour, Samantha and the family realized David had
already improved greatly – he was coherent and talking, while his
heart rate and blood pressure were returning to normal levels. Still,
David would need to be monitored for a while before he would be allowed
home. Samantha and her family wanted David to be admitted to CVMC, but
Dr. Joines encouraged them to move him back to the original hospital where
the surgeon could continue to oversee his care and ongoing recovery. Later
in the evening, an ambulance would transport him there.
From the time he was brought to CVMC’s Emergency Department, through
the testing and diagnosis, and finally being transported back to the original
hospital, less than ten hours had passed.
As Samantha sees it, those ten hours with Dr. Joines and the team at CVMC
very likely saved her grandfather’s life. She was so pleased with
the experience, in fact, that she wrote a glowing review in Google reviews.