Recovering from her knee surgery just days before, Michelle Oates made arrangements to visit Dr. Jeffrey DeClaire to ensure she was experiencing routine surgical pain and not something more serious. Despite assurances that she would be fine on her own, Michelle’s mother, Linda Lubanksi, insisted on coming with her daughter – a decision that would save her life.
Taking every precaution, Dr. DeClaire recommended Michelle visit Crittenton’s Emergency Department immediately for tests to rule out the possibility of a blood clot. However, shortly after their arrival in the ER, it was her mom who needed emergency medical attention. Linda’s heart suddenly stopped pumping blood, causing her to lose consciousness and collapse. Crittenton team members rushed to help, quickly determining Linda needed emergency surgery to stop bleeding in her brain caused by her fall. Despite news that her mother was in critical condition, Michelle says she was comforted by Crittenton’s caring staff. “The nurses and doctors went out of their way to help us through the chaos. They made sure I was able to be by my mom’s side while continuing to care for me.”
Doctors warned Michelle and her family to prepare for the worst. Though Linda’s surgery would be risky, it was critical to prevent further damage to both her heart and brain. During the five hour surgery, doctors had to revive Linda when her heart stopped and implant a temporary pacemaker to keep it beating. They also worked to stop the bleeding in her brain. Despite all odds, Linda survived the surgery. Though doctors were hopeful, they explained to the family that the next 72 hours would determine if Linda would have a chance at a full recovery. Michelle and her family relied on the nurses, physicians and residents in Crittenton’s Critical Care Unit. “Crittenton cared for our whole family on a personal level – stopping us in the hallway to check in, giving us regular updates – even asking what they could do for us. Words cannot describe what it meant to us.”
Thanks to the support and care she received, Linda has made a miraculous recovery, returning home after more than four weeks at Crittenton. Throughout her time in the hospital, dozens of specialists, nurses, and therapists helped Linda regain her health and meet her goal to be there for her son’s wedding in California. For Linda, Michelle and their family, the celebration is a reminder that everything happens for a reason. Michelle’s knee pain – which turned out to be nothing serious – brought them to Crittenton that day. “It was meant to be. If my mom had not been with me that day, she would not have survived. It was the right time in the right place. Most importantly, it was the right people.”