An exceptional experience at Beebe’s South Coastal ED
By Kathy Harmon, resident, and David Szumski, Beebe Medical Foundation
Last summer, Kathy and Bob Harmon were enjoying a visit with their good friends Mike and Mary Ann Dunevant to celebrate Kathy’s birthday. Mary Ann prepared a special dinner, baked a cake, and invited her brother and sister-in-law, Bud and Ann Rizer, to join their small party.
“Just before we were getting ready to eat, Ann and I were talking about my new great-granddaughter,” shared Kathy. “I wanted to show Ann a picture, but when I picked up my phone, I didn’t recognize it. I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know what buttons to push. Then my words started slurring and popping, and my sentences weren’t coming out. I was having a lot of difficulty with my speech.”
As luck would have it, Kathy Harmon is a retired nurse and Ann Rizer is a recently retired nurse practitioner. Ann looked Kathy in the eye and said, “Do you want to go to the ER now?” Ann set things into action and noted the time Kathy’s symptoms started, which is of utmost importance when determining treatment for a potential stroke.
Kathy said, “I think my friends called ahead to let Beebe know we were coming, because they were ready and waiting for me. The doctors and nurses came out to meet us at the car. They took me right back while my husband Bob was giving them my information. Everything happened so quickly! Zip, zip, zip, and I was hooked up to monitors and they started an IV. I remember having a big difference in feeling between my right side and my left side.”
Beebe Healthcare recently partnered with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Jefferson’s Comprehensive Stroke Center is one of the nation’s most advanced and acclaimed for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research of strokes. The Jefferson Robot at Beebe enables a neurologist from Jefferson to “beam into Beebe” remotely to assist with diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting symptoms of stroke.
“There was a tall piece of equipment with a camera and a screen next to me,” said Kathy. “The doctor at my bedside pushed some buttons and another doctor appeared on the screen – I was introduced to my neurologist from Jefferson in Philadelphia! Through this robot I could actually see her and hear her – and she could see and hear me! It was like she was actually there, at my bedside. They quickly agreed to take me to imaging to get a scan. I could hear everyone talking back and forth. They explained that I was having a stroke and they wanted to use a medication called tPA. I was told what the medication would do and what the possible side effects were. I agreed to the treatment and signed paperwork. My nurses drew the medicine and administered it through my IV. I remember feeling a little warm and I could tell there was a difference – I started feeling a little better! When we were initially talking with the doctor from Jefferson over the robot, I didn’t know they were also thinking of transferring me there, by helicopter, to Philadelphia. The helicopter is another amazing thing in itself to see. They opened the back and eased my stretcher in. I could see out the window as they hooked up all of the monitors, hung my IV and made sure I was comfortable. I wasn’t afraid at all. I’ve been in ERs before, and if I had to grade Beebe Healthcare’s new Emergency Department in Millville, it would earn an A++. When you hear about strokes and the importance of getting to the ER, now I can totally understand that. I was treated with urgency and compassion by Beebe and Jefferson, and that’s why I think I am doing so well today. I am practically fully recovered!”
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one have received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at beebemedicalfoundation.org or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at [email protected].