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Gratitude for the Beebe Healthcare Team

Our father, Kisan Karapurkar, was diagnosed with severe chronic kidney disease (CKD) about 4 years ago.

While the CKD was initially managed with diet and medications, the need for dialysis became rapidly clear. It was at this time that our father's care team grew beyond his long-time friend and dedicated primary care provider, Dr. Bhaskar Palekar, to include Dr. Shalini Sehgal and the dialysis team at Fresenius Dialysis Center. Navigating the process for determining the type of dialysis and, subsequently, preparing the body for dialysis was in itself an emotionally charged situation for both our father, as the patient, as well as our mother, his caregiver.

At that time, Dr. Palekar, Dr. Sehgal, and the nurses at the dialysis center helped provide our parents with the resources they needed to embark on this life-altering journey. While dialysis greatly impacted their daily routines and, to that extent, also their quality of life, the first two years or so were otherwise uneventful; they figured out their “new normal.” However, this past year, as age and disease progression would have it, our father's health began to change for the worst after a trip to India to be with our extended family.

Immediately upon returning from India, our father was diagnosed with Pneumonia which triggered multiple ER visits and a lengthy inpatient stay at Beebe Hospital. This was his first true acute care hospitalization in his 81 years, which is amazing in so many respects but also made this whole experience even more anxiety-producing for them. During this time, several tests were done to assess his difficulty breathing, low energy status, and the depths of some other symptoms he was experiencing. Through these assessments, we found out that what was once considered mild aortic stenosis, a condition he had for many years, had become more severe, requiring intervention in the near future, a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The complexities of CKD and being on dialysis just became all the more complex, requiring the skilled talents of a high quality coordinated and compassionate team of health care professionals.

In learning about the TAVR and evaluating our options, we weighed the decision to stay here in Lewes for the procedure or whether to consider other leading institutions, like Sentara in Norfolk, Virginia or the University of Virginia. It was also reassuring that we have a cardiologist in the family (one of the sons-in-law!) who consulted with one of the interventionalists on the team; ultimately, as a family, we felt our father was in good, capable hands at Beebe and decided to proceed with the TAVR here where he would have his trusted care team, family, friends and the comforts of home close by.

In reflecting upon this past year and our experience with the local health care system, our family is filled with so much gratitude to the multi-disciplinary team that provided the coordinated and compassionate care our father needed. This team consisted of physicians of various specialties, nurses, care coordinators and social workers, respiratory therapists, dialysis team and certified nursing assistants to the personal support network made up of wife, daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, family and friends. Today, however, we want to particularly acknowledge the healthcare team that took care of our father leading up to, during and after his TAVR procedure.

After all the required pre-work ups and time necessary for our father to regain some strength, our father was finally scheduled for the TAVR procedure at Beebe on June 7. Our family gathered together to say our well wishes for a smooth surgery as the nurses whisked him through the doors to prep him for the procedure. While we knew our father was at a higher risk for complications during the procedure, given his age and complex health history, we still did not think he would fall in that small, small percentage where something could possibly go wrong. However, during the procedure, our father experienced complications that put his life on the line.

We can vividly recall when Dr. Qureshi and Dr. Freih came out after they were done the procedure to let us know all that had happened and that they were able to successfully complete the TAVR procedure. The manner in which they communicated with us was calm, compassionate and patient. In reflecting on this time sitting in the cardiovascular waiting area, it was very clear they were not only good at the technical skills, but they excelled at the human side of healthcare as well. Annie Villalobos was our glue from the beginning. From our initial consult, she made sure we knew what to expect and she worked with the TAVR team to ensure that everything was completed for the procedure. She provided support and reassurance throughout our experience. In the days that followed, Dr. Freih and Annie came by at least once a day to check in on my dad, and well, really all of us! They were invested in our father’s recovery, not for statistics and outcomes, but it was the kind of care that was genuine and deeply felt.

Being retired health care professionals, it has honestly also been eye opening for our parents to experience firsthand all the changes in our healthcare system today – both the positive aspects as well as the not so positive. Knowing and feeling the demands and constraints of our healthcare system, and knowing many people focus on the negative, we felt it was even more important for us to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional care of our father’s care team during his experiences this year. With that, we are extremely grateful for our father’s care team during this acute and intense journey – Dr. Mouhanad Freih, Dr. Ehtasham Qureshi, Annie Villalobos, the nurses that were part of the TAVR team on June 7, Dr. Steven Marra, Dr. Rajinder Prasad, Dr. Shalini Sehgal and Dr. Rabail Qureshi, and the many wonderful nurses in the ICU and, last but not least, Dr. Bhaskar Palekar (who has been our dad’s primary care physician for over 30 years!).

With gratitude on behalf of our family and for all you do for our community,
Rita Karapurkar Williams and Tanya Karapurkar Bhasin, and our parents,
Kisan and Prabhat Karapurkar