“It Worked” by Stephen Peterson BS, CCP
She said, “It Worked”, with a big smile. That is the reply that I received from a patient when I told her that my job as a perfusionist is to keep her alive while the surgeon performs the operation. We performed one of the most extensive open-heart procedures that can be done on the heart, the aortic arch and aortic valve which included an elephant trunk stent for the descending aorta, extending down from the arch.
It was a big operation. We were on the heart lung machine for 8-hours which included a couple of long circulation arrest all which took a potential insult. The most important part of this procedure is to protect the heart with intermittent cold cardioplegia doses and protect the brain with cold selective cerebral perfusion. She was completely dependent on the heart lung machine for 8 hours and at a very frigid temperature required for protection.
So, understandably, it took a few days and lots of praying for the patient to wake up fully, but eventually after several days she was clear headed and without any noticeable cognitive damage and went home without rehab. It was a WOW.
I saw her son holding her hand for hours … He was praying earnestly that she would wake up and be OK. He told me that he was not a church goer, but that his mother was. After he saw what prayers can do, he expressed that he would go to church with his mom. His mom said that she would love to take him.
Sometimes our God does things in mysterious ways … to “Wake Us Up”. Her son by her bedside was such a good-looking man and he has a whole life to live. Thank God that he got his mom back. Thank God for miracles … Sometime this is what God does to prove to us that He is God … There was “A Miracle in ICU room 12”. I don’t think anyone had any hope for the patient to wake up. God had different plans … “It Worked” … This comment makes my job most satisfactory.
Comment by Dr. Eduardo Esper MD:
The frozen elephant trunk! A technique that treats thoracic aortic pathology in one stage procedure, combines the open repair with endovascular stenting. It requires a surgical strategy that needs to be rehearsed over an over by the operating team. Nurses, surgical techs, anesthesiologist, and Perfusionist. The director of this amazing orchestra is the surgeon. But the one in charged that guides us is God! I always pray before and after each procedure. I love to see all my patients do well and take it personally when they don’t. After 4 plus days, this one woke up to smile at us as if she was telling us, what worry you were praying! It works….. and, Thank you Steve for allowing me to do what I do in the OR.