George W is a 70 year old veteran who had a life saving heart transplant 8 years ago and was doing well until 2 years ago when he suffered a stroke that left him with some memory problems. Any time a transplant is done, care is taken to decrease the bodies defense against attacking the organ as foreign.
Many medications have to be accurately taken multiple times a day and George, who was living with his mentally handicapped son, began to forget if he took the medications (over 10) on time. I know at times I forget if I’ve taken just ibuprofen for muscle pain or not-I’ve began to say out loud “I’m taking Advil at 10am or whatever time it is to help me remember.”
Recently George’s body began to attack his transplanted heart because he wasn’t taking his medications accurately and his heart began to fail. Signs of heart failure began to cause him swelling in his legs and trouble breathing-especially lying down.
He was brought to a local hospital in Indy and then transferred to another hospital nearby that does transplants and followup. After a day, he demanded to go home (after fluid was removed and he felt better) and the mental health doctor determined he was in his right mind and could go. His heart continued to fail and finally he was taken to the Veterans Hospital. He was determined to have a critical condition and was flown by commercial air ambulance to Madison Wisconsin Veterans Hospital, where he had received the heart.
After two weeks, he was finally stabilized medically, but very tearful. He was missing his family. Initially the doctors thought we could transport him home with home care,but when the catheter that was filtering all his antibodies was pulled from his neck vein, it would not stop bleeding the day of transport. When we arrived he had a large dressing on his neck and they wanted him to go directly to the Indy VA hospital to have it rechecked when we arrived in Indy.
George was such a grateful patient. He was surprised when we offered him a sandwich on the flight and he gladly accepted. Thanks to God, he was stable in flight and enjoyed his lunch.
Near death only two weeks before, we arrived back to the VA hospital with a new George-very happy to see his son and be home.
Thanks to awesome medical crew of Drew and Dustin, great flying by Hal and Mark, and by faithful flight follower Bob.
Thanks again to Heartland ambulance-who donated the ground ambulance that drove 45 minutes just to help us out!
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