Patient Thanks God, His Wife and Parkwest Staff for Miraculous Recovery
According to David Landes, he is one of the luckiest men on earth. The 46-year-old real estate appraiser has a lot to be thankful for. One August afternoon in 2013, Landes came to Parkwest Medical Center’s emergency department with abdominal pain. Having previously experienced pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, he expected a weekend stay at most.
However, Landes spent 103 days in the hospital, many of which were in a medically-induced comatose state. In an unusual progression, his pancreas had begun to fail and become toxic. He then began to experience multiple organ failure and went into sepsis. Because of his young age and the team of doctors, nurses, therapists, surgeons, and dieticians at Parkwest Medical Center, Landes recovered from improbable odds.
“It was a team effort, for sure.” Landes and his wife Yvonnca say they cannot sing enough praises for everyone who cared for him at Parkwest. As the chief nursing officer at Parkwest, Lynn Cagle, RN, BSN, MBA, CENP, emphasizes the importance of a collaborative approach with her team and across the hospital, from one discipline to the next, and notes the importance of communication. “We strive to do everything in our power to support our patients and their families during whatever they are going through.”
Life Support, in More Ways Than One
Landes spent approximately two months in Parkwest’s critical care unit and another six weeks recovering on the med-surg floor, where he had to relearn to walk after becoming so weakened from his condition. Because he was confined to a bed for so long, needing oxygen and blood transfusions, he underwent occupational therapy followed by intense physical therapy once he was awake.
Everyday tasks such as standing, dressing, and brushing his teeth required assistance at first, and these tasks had to be mastered before he As Landes’ prognosis improved, an expert team of nurses and physicians oversaw him, including a dietician who helped make a plan to tolerate his diet after going home.
Each of the medical personnel watched closely for signs of infection or sepsis and were therefore able to intervene promptly if needed. Together, they made sure
to educate Landes about expectations of recovery, keeping up with physical and occupational therapy once outside the hospital setting and medications to keep his triglycerides at bay.
Yvonnca did not leave her husband’s side for four months. She says during this trying time, in addition to the encouragement and support of the Parkwest staff, that her faith in God, and constant prayer – both for her family and for others – kept her going. Landes attributes his healing to God, to giving his body time, to being proactive, and the medical team who cared for him. “So many little things happened while we were there that contributed to my being alive – it all had to do with what that hospital does, they saw for our family. It worked. It wasn’t just medical.”
A Drive to Give Back
In 2013, with her husband awake but still hospitalized, Yvonnca arranged a blood drive with the help of friends and family in hopes of collecting enough pints of blood to offset the cost. The drive collected 56 units, 40 of which went toward replenishing what her husband had required. Awestruck, they had surpassed their goal by 16 units, and with one unit of blood going to save three lives, the couple wanted to continue to pay it forward.
Yvonnca planned a blood drive the following November. Now, seven years later, the couple has continued holding the annual drive to benefit others in need, cementing a legacy, and the largest non-corporate blood drive in the region in terms of pints raised.
Landes and his wife are grateful to the staff at Parkwest who come to their job each day and continually put the their patients first. “All the different employees, the nurses, the doctors, they all did more than they had to, it wasn’t just a job to them,” says Landes. “They wanted to help put our family back together.”
It’s a Team Effort at Parkwest
Lynn Cagle, RN, BSN, MBA, CENP, is the chief nursing officer at Parkwest Medical Center. She sets the tone for her nursing staff, which is based on Covenant Health’s Pledge of Excellence: a commitment to always put the patient first, striving for excellence, and ensuring Covenant Health is first and best choice for healthcare.
“We put our patients first, and in doing that, we know we have to communicate
as a team and work together to provide excellent care to get the best possible outcome.” “The clinical staff at Parkwest, the way we are able to touch people’s lives and help them in a meaningful way, it feels as though you are truly making a difference in that patient or family’s life at a time when they need it most,” says Cagle.”
On Her Patients
Each patient’s needs are evaluated every shift by nursing staff. “Rounds” are done one to three times per day. Case managers assist with ongoing care that may be needed upon or after leaving the hospital, so individuals are under constant evaluation.
When someone is sick, it’s not just one area or body part that is examined;
the medical team is aware of helping the entire body get what it needs to prosper. To maintain nutrition, for example, and promote kidney function, a dietician may monitor food intake and electrolyte balance, consulting a nephrologist to treat the kidneys. If a patient is malnourished, an infectious disease preventionist might be consulted to check how organs are functioning, alerting other physicians and nurses on staff to watch for signs of infection or healing, together determining if an adjustment is needed in that individual’s plan of care.
On Her People
“It takes a team effort to get highest quality of care to make sure our patients get the best outcome,” says Cagle. “Everybody relies on everybody.” “When our patients come through the door, our staff at Parkwest know that they are coming here because they need our help. We want to be able to make that difference and want to make them feel like, ‘we’ve got you – we’re going to take excellent care of you.’ The culture at Parkwest is that when you come through our doors, you are part of our family, and you will be treated and cared for as part of our family.” “We are committed to being the best we can possibly be,” says Cagle. “It takes every person here, from the housekeeper to discharge station, from the nurses at the bedside, to the doctors in the operating room to make things happen.”