Perspectives: Why We Do What We Do

Doctor Holding Liver Image

There are those moments, those special patients, that help remind us why we do what we do. For 75 health care professionals from two San Antonio hospitals, that moment happened six months ago with patient Frances Ramos.

Ramos, 21 of Harlingen, Texas, was 26 weeks into her pregnancy when her liver began to fail. She was placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) liver location waiting list at the highest status within 36 hours of admission, giving her access to organs from Texas and Oklahoma.

"Dr. Foster told me that my liver was completely gone and my baby and I had 48 hours to live unless a donor liver was located," said Ramos.  "Luckily, 72 hours passed, and I was still fighting."  Then she went into a deep coma.  The team, led by Foster, decided to perform a C-section delivery when the donor organ was on the way; then remove the diseased liver and implant the donor liver.

Ramos was in the coma for one week.   When she awoke, she had a new liver and a new son. Max weighed 1 pound, 13 ½ ounces and was in neonatal intensive care for 2 ½ months.

The eight-hour procedure and overall hospital care involved extensive coordination between staffs from Methodist Hospital and Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital.

The 75 healthcare workers involved in their care were recently reunited with the young mother and her baby to celebrate the baby's six-month birthday and the success of the rare high-risk liver transplant and C-section that saved both their lives.  Doctors at the hospital said that only eight similar cases have been published worldwide, and that having all the right conditions come together—from finding a donor liver to keeping the baby alive—were truly miraculous.

"In my 30 years of liver transplantation, this was the first such case for me, " said Preston Foster, M.D., surgical director of the liver disease and transplant program at Texas Transplant Institute at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital.

At the reunion, the Blue Bird Auxiliary of Methodist Hospital presented Ramos with a tricycle for her son, Max Joseph Ramos, nicknamed "Miracle Max," who turned six months old on July 17.

What are your most memorable moments in nursing?  Share your story in the comments section below.


Interested in sharing your unique story and experience?  Please submit your personal POV or topic suggestions to content@audiencesynergy.com to be considered for the Perspectives post.
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1 COMMENT

  1. I think back to a man who had colon cancer. he had a peri – rectal resection and no anus. He was terrified of his colostomy. I had him as a patient and taught colostomy irrigation. I took him in the bathroom and taught him it was a new way to evacuate his bowel that he had control over. I gently taught him to irrigate the stoma after dialating it. He realized it wasn’t hard to do. by not covering my face from the odors he realized it was his new way of life. He grabbed life by the hand and embraced it. Mr. G I will call him loved that I treated him normal and loved taking care of him. One day I was off after he was discharged. and they girls on the floor called me and told me I had flowers from Mr. G. He had brought them up to the floor himself for me. Never has a patient brought me flowers. I prized the gesture I think more than the beautiful red roses. This is not the end of the story as he was admitted back in hospital with re-accurance. He was terminal. I took care of him until he passed from this life. I gave him pain meds and other medication. that day as I was leaving I went to his room and told him goodbye as time was nearing. He was breathing erratically and I new the time coming and I wouldn’t see him again. Mrs. G was at his bedside. She hugged me and thanked me for caring for him. you see she couldn’t accept his colostomy and always told him it was horrible . I helped him see it was part of his existence and he so appreciated that. Although he was in a coma I believed he heard me. You see I learned about colostomies when my grandfather had one when I was 15 or 16. I asked my Memaw if I could watch her help him and that was what determined my decision to be a nurse. This was one of my favorite patients. There were so many when I worked as a nurse and I miss it every day.

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