Wednesday, February 6, 2013

An Up-"Hill" Battle for Danielle

By Megan Lehew, Engl 336.002

Many students would have given up after going through what Frostburg State University junior Danielle Hill experienced last spring. A Mass Communication major from Baltimore, MD, Danielle had just returned to campus after spring break when she noticed a stomach pain. Not thinking anything of it initially, she noticed that over time she began to run a fever and was losing her appetite. Upon hearing her symptoms, Danielle’s mother, who is a registered nurse, advised her to go the emergency room. Danielle checked in to Western Maryland Health Systems, where she went through a preliminary check, including drinking a dye contrast and waiting four hours, which confirmed it was appendicitis and that emergency surgery must be done. They were able to postpone the surgery until her mother could drive up from Baltimore, and had the surgery at 6:00 in the morning.

Through the recovery, she was unable to eat anything except Jell-O and juice. Unable to attend classes, she went home with her mother during the recovery period. Wednesday through Saturday of that week, she was in severe pain and couldn’t keep any food in her system, and finally checked in to Northwest Hospital, near her home. What they found was a softball-sized E. coli infection behind her uterus, which had to be drained constantly.  Once this infection had been taken care of, they were finally ready to take the staples out of her stomach from her initial surgery. While the first two sets gave no problem, the skin around the third set of staples burst open and another infection began to drain.  Because of this, Danielle continued to remain in the hospital. She felt that the nurses on staff took advantage of her mother’s nursing background and did not take responsibility for her as a patient and instead expected her mother to take care of everything. Hill feels that “... going through that made me appreciate life more than I did." Because of the sub-par care she feels she received during her hospital stays, Danielle and her mother now have a medical malpractice case open that they are still fighting.

With all of the hospital time and infections, Danielle missed almost a month of school. She found that her professors were very accommodating and helped her to stay on the right track so that she was able to get through her classes, although at times she felt like throwing in the towel. “I realized I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was.” Now that she is healthy and back on campus, Danielle is working towards her degree with hopes to go into event planning. She admits that she “is a sucker for love,” and feels as though she would really enjoy planning weddings, although she admits that she would love to plan any sort of celebratory event. She also hopes to one day become a sports writer for the Yankees or the Lakers, her two favorite teams. One thing is for sure – if she can make it through that kind of a near-death experience and still come out smiling, nothing can stop her from achieving her dreams.

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