On August 18th Betty Hart went into respiratory failure, as a result of her advanced COPD. She was intubated in the ambulance while enroute to Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital, in Newport Oregon, where she was admitted to the ICU. After about 36hrs of assessment, monitoring, and antibiotics, the Dr’s decided to attempt to extubate. This attempt was successful for about eight hours, at which point, she again went into respiratory failure, and again had to be intubated. Betty remained intubated, and under propofol induced sedation for 11 days, despite rigorous attempts to wean her off of the ventilator. On day 12 it was determined, that, in order to protect her vocal chords and upper airway, Betty would require a tracheostomy, as well as longterm care from a specialty ventilator weaning facility, in Portland, Oregon. Throughout her stay in the Newport ICU, Betty experienced numerous close calls with dropping blood pressure, requiring norepinephrine to maintain a safe pressure, requiring the transufsion of a unit of blood, and a constant pnumonia.
Friday September 1st, Betty was transferred from the Newport ICU, to Vibra Specialty Hospital in Portland Oregon. Vibra is a long term care facility that specializes in the the ventilator weaning process. Upon her arrival, the intaking physician adivised the family that Betty was very sick, and at the time could not provide much information as to what to expect regarding a long term plan, let alone outcome. In addition, they were also informed that Betty may have also suffered a minor heart attak sometime througout this whole process. When Betty was admitted to Vibra, it was the begining of the Labor Day Weekend, so it would not be until Wednesday September 6th that the family would talk with an attending physician. She too informed them that Betty was very sick, and the long term outlook did not look great. She let them know that Betty seemed to have a build up of air in her abdomen, and wanted to send her out to one of the nearby hospitals for a CT scan. On Friday September 8th, Betty was sent to OHSU for a CT scan. Upon her arrival, and completion of the scan, Betty suffered a fairly substantial drop in blood pressure, prompting the OHSU emegency department to addmit her to their ICU. All indications were pointing to a build up of air in Betty’s abdomen, but the scans did not provide indication as to where the air was coming from. This left the team at OHSU with little choice other than to perform an exploratory surgery, to see if the air was coming from the the colon, or the feedig tube valve that Newport placed on her stomach. The surgery revealed that the air was in fact coming from the feeding tube PEG in Betty’s stomach. The surgical department sealed this up, and Betty has begun the healing process from the procedure.
Currently, Betty remains in the Trauma and Surgical ICU at OHSU in Portland Oregon. She is at the moment, stable, but still requires norepinephrine to maintain a functional blood pressure, as well as elevated ventilator settings to maintain breathing and blood gas levels. Betty is also suffering severe delirium, due to weeks of sedation, and being moved between three different facilities. This is something that is still an uncertainty as to whether or not it will resolve itself. Monday September 18th marks one month since Betty went from a functioning, loving and caring mother, to requiring life support, and being bed ridden in the ICU. Unable to communicate, eat, or move on her own.
At this time, it is uncertain as to whether or not Betty will ever see the outside of a critical care facility again in her lifetime. Right now, the absolute best that can be hoped for, is a recovery to the point in which she could return home either off, or on, a ventilator, to the full care of her daughter Clarice, or less ideally, possibly a long term specialty care facility. Betty’s home, while not hospitalized, is in the rural Oregon coastal community of Toledo. This makes access to specialists and good doctors very dificult. As we remain hopeful and pray that Betty can stay strong, and find the will to overcome this life changing hurdle, we also realize that if she does recover to some extent, there will be many costs involved with moving her to the greater Portland/Vancouver area. Where she will have access to the pulmonologists, cardiologists, and gastroentrologists that she will need. And unfortunately, Betty and her close family being on very limited fixed incomes, are not in a position where these extra expenses are going to be manageable. In addition to potential moving expenses, the family also has added expenses related to living out of town, away from home while Betty is under the care of the various Portland facilities fighting to keep her alive.
The most difficut scenario that the family is facing, is the fact that these very well may be Betty’s final days. In which case, there will also be great expenses related to funeral, dealing with belongings, and family relocation expenses. None of which, is the family in a financial position to take on.
The family and friends of Betty Hart ask today for your greatly needed and appreciated donations to help with the either relocation / and or funeral expenses in the coming days. We fully understad if you are unable to donate at this time, but please pass this around to friends and family that may know someone who can.
Thank you for all of the care and concern. And keep the prayers, crossed fingers and good wishes coming.
THANKS FROM THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF BETTY HART.
- Laura Anderson
- Charlotte Sarantopoulos
- Gayle Hart
- Kristi/William Lane