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December 17, 2013 > Letter to the Editor: An unexpected visit

Letter to the Editor: An unexpected visit

Tuesday, Dec 3 was a hard day as my stomach pain was getting worse with each passing hour. Thinking that this was a regular pain, I medicated myself but it didnÕt work since it turned out to be a case of an inflamed appendix - appendicitis!

Due to unbearable pain, I was taken to the Emergency Room of Washington Hospital in Fremont. Since I was on a research assignment from Pakistan, with no travel insurance, this was of serious concern. Upon arrival, I was immediately taken to for all necessary tests.

Within an hour, a radiologist confirmed my case as an inflamed appendicitis and that I must undergo a surgery right away. Damn! What do I do now with no travel insurance and not enough cash for treatment? It was an extremely frightful feeling, away from home and family. I made special prayers!

I was amazed. Treatment started right away without discussion of any financial matters. Soon, I was confirmed for my surgery and taken to a room where I met my surgeon, Dr William E. Dugoni, called in for my surgery from his regular time off, a few hours before my operation was scheduled.

Assistants, along with the surgeon, explained the process of my surgery which was petrifying. However, the entire team cheered me up including Dr Dugoni, who was really supportive and pleasant while reading about my case and explaining it to me. ÒWhat luck you haveÉ appendix surgery in the United States, in California, in Fremont, at Washington Hospital, by Dr Dugoni!Ó he smiled. ÒYou donÕt have to worry, you will be fast asleep while we take it out with a few insertions and within 24 hours, you will be discharged.Ó

My surgery lasted hardly 30 minutes. I was pleased to be under the care of doctors who spent hours on me to stabilize my blood pressure since it was too low. After three hours in the recovery room, I was shifted to a semi-private room, where the nurse on the duty took amazing care of me, followed by other nurses for the day.

On Wednesday, December 4th, I visited with Maria Contreras, Washington Hospital Healthcare System Financial Counselor, who explained the process to submit a financial assistance request to the hospital. Later that evening, I was discharged with extreme care.

As I write this, in another hour, I have a follow-up appointment with Dr Dugoni. I am truly surprised by the way lives are saved in this part of the world in contrast to where I live. I truly appreciate the entire Washington Hospital team efforts!

Meena Ahmed
Freelance journalist from Pakistan

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