Hello everyone. My name is Katherine Whitesell. I am here writing to you on behalf of our dear friend Jake Tyler (Beiersdorf).
On January 7, 2016 Jake was down in Nassau, Bahamas working with his mother, Shelly Thew, on the annual PCA world poker tournament when he began experiencing severe stomach pains. He was rushed by ambulance from the Atlantis hotel to Princess Margaret Hospital where his horrific nightmare truly began. He and Shelly arrived at hospital at 10 a.m. where they waited 14 hours until they finally decided that he had a ruptured appendix and needed surgery. They opened him up down the center of his abdomen from his breastbone to the top of his groin. Following the surgery they thought it was best to leave him unstitched (evidently, to allow for infection not to set in???) for the next 4 (yes, FOUR) days. That Monday they finally gave him just 13 loosely sewn, superficial epidermal stitches (with several open gaps remaining and where at least 35-45 staples were required), and zero inner stitches reattaching the fascia (muscle and fat layer) within- which helps keep ones 'insides" from basically falling out. *For the sake of many possible gag reflexes- I am omitting a lot of the gory details that accompany this whole horrifying story.
I arrived in Nassau that Monday night (to help Jake and Shelly any possible way I could and to get Jake back stateside), and was ill prepared for what I was about to witness. I got to PM hospital and was roughly told where to find Jake by the "security guard" who was on metal detector and bag check duty for the shit-hole I was about to walk into. I finally located Jake after wandering the hospital halls- uncertain of where I was actually going due to being told the wrong direction. I walked into a room thinking I was mistaken where I was, due to the fact that when I first peeked my head in I was face to face with a recovering islander who looked just as confused to see me as I was to see him. When I popped back in and opened the door further- I realized it was a (filthy) communal room and saw several other locals were in there, and I quietly asked for Jake whereupon I heard him shout my name from behind the door and a drawn curtain. I walked around to greet him and was not only taken aback by the state of my dear friend, but also his unbelievable unsanitary surroundings. It was just plain gross, and I was sincerely concerned about their LACK of concern for the possibility of serious infection. We needed to get him out there STAT. He would be better off in the hotel room than in that room of swirling bacteria. Shelly and I organized his release the next evening (that in itself was like pulling teeth). He was due to go back that Friday for his final checkup, and to get his paperwork and the A-Ok to fly back to the states on Saturday. The Friday release was yet another (unsurprising) ordeal. His "checkup" was held in a storage closet marked "Dressing Room". Nope. It was an unsanitary storage closet with random items strewn everywhere. We finally got his checkup and discharge papers and got out of there. Now, to get him back safely stateside.
I had organized first class and airport assistance for each stop along the way back to Minneapolis which was a huge help in keeping Jake comfortable along the way (especially once we found out what was actually going on with him). His father picked us up at the airport and I suggested we go immediately to the E.R. Once we arrived there and began telling the story of his ordeal, they rushed us right back to a room where we were met almost immediately by a surgeon. Hallelujah the good ol' U.S. Of A! After a thorough checkup and CT scan- 3 surgeons, 2 radiologists and several nurses all concurred that it was necessary to immediately open Jake back up to see what it was they actually did to him down in the Bahamas.
Two and a half hours later (out of his second major surgery in less than 2 weeks) the surgeon comes out to tell us what they have discovered... They were uncertain of what it was they actually did other than gut him like a fish, "Guinea pig" and mangle his fascia, and then superficially sew him up without even stitching the fat and muscle layer beneath. Jake kept having the feeling that his guts were going to spill out for very good reason... they very well could have! What they DO know is that he still had a perfectly intact and healthy appendix (that the Bahamian doctors said had ruptured) that was hidden behind his large intestines (where it normally is not supposed to be). They went ahead and removed his healthy appendix so he would never have to go through anything like this horrific nightmare again. Also, they properly stitched up his interior lining, but said that was the most precarious of the whole surgery as well as recovery since the surgery that was done before really was an unfortunate hack job. We were all gobsmacked- jaws on the floor. I asked "Well, are all his OTHER organs that are supposed to be there- THERE?!" The surgeon fortunately conceded that indeed they were. He further added that Jake was lucky to be alive and that he was going to have a long road of recovery ahead of him- with fingers crossed that his mangled fascia would "grab ahold" and reattach again without the need for future surgeries. (So far so good. Thank God!)
So, therein-lies the short of the long of why I am here asking for your help today. As you can imagine, the cost of all this has been overwhelming for Jake and his family. Not only does this whole situation put him out of work for months, but he also is having issues with his insurance now. Y'all know how those jerks just LOVE to pay up when they need to. (*Note the heavy sarcasm.) I realize we all have our budgets to adhere to these days, so any amount of contribution you can give is GREATLY appreciated to help Jake get back on his feet. Thank you for your time and donations.