Personal Stories: Shirley Smith

This is the story of my Mom. Shirley Smith. She and my father were getting ready to fly out to their winter home in FL and on the 2nd of Oct. she ended up in the hospital. They said she didn't seem to have a heart attack nor a stroke. Through her testing they found that she had a leaky aortic valve and 4 - 50% clogged arteries. Her doctor told us they would treat this with medication and released my mom from the hospital. On Oct. 14 she went back to the same doctor and he released her to go to FL.

So, mom & dad went to purchase new tickets and were to leave on the 18th. Well, on the early morning of the 15th, Oct. She woke to a terrible pain in her chest. Dad drove her to the emergency and they put her into a CT Scan. Found that she had a torn aortic valve. They sedated her heavily and put her into emergency open heart surgery, which they had said would only take approximately 6 hours. 17 hours later, they came into the waiting room and told us she was being moved into ICU. They had her in a induced coma and also paralyzed so she would not be able to move.

My mom was so swollen from this they were never able to sew her chest back up. She was on a by-pass machine for her left heart and a ventilator and so many med, I think she had 16 IV's. They put her back into surgery on Saturday night because her chest cavity was filling up with fluid. Then again on Tuesday the 19th, more surgery to try and take her off the by-pass machine.

They said it would take up to 7 hours if it was going to work. They came out after 1.5 hours and wanted to send her to the University of Michigan hospital. The doctor said her kidneys were failing and dialysis might help but also that her lungs were hardening and leathery. Her blood OX at this time was only 69.

She never came out of this. I wonder if they could have diagnosed this the first time she was there? Why didn't they do a CT Scan? Obviously, there was something wrong when they found the leaky valve and the arteries clogged... I miss my mom, she was so full of life and none of us expected this.

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