Methodist Healthcare System | Keeping Well | Summer 2021
SAHealth.com 3 KEEPINGWELL — SUMMER 2021 Cathi Aguilera was 29 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and required life-support to survive. Due to her pregnancy, Cathi was at a greater risk of developing se- vere COVID-19 respiratory complications. She was intubated on a ventilator when her oxygen levels progressively dropped below 60 percent. Her illness advanced rapidly; her lungs had filled with fluid and the effects of the virus caused them to fail. The depletion of her oxygen had become near-fatal and endangered both her life and her baby’s. Simultaneously, Cathi’s care teams worked tire- lessly to ensure the first-time mom would live to meet her baby girl. In its rarity, Cathi’s OB, Tiffany Satterfield, MD, emergently performed a C-section in the Lung Rescue ICU, while Jeff DellaVolpe, MD, critical care physician, worked to cannulate Cathi for ECMO, a form of life-support that replaces the function of the lungs and heart. “I remember thinking how much longer? The baby isn’t going to be alive,” commented Dr. Satter- field. The moment the baby finally came out, she heard a faint noise. “My God, she’s alive.” The neonatal team stabilized the newborn while Dr. Satterfield stitched Cathi. Baby Raya was born at 29 weeks, weighing 3 lbs., 3 oz. Meanwhile, Cathi faced an incredibly strenuous recovery. She remained on ECMO for nearly three months. Her lung function marginally improved, and she was in a sedated coma for several weeks. She remained on life-support and was on dialysis to support her kidneys, which had failed. Cathi fell ill to depression, common for patients who have prolonged hospital stays. Her care team recog- nized a decline in her mental health, and her will to fight had been exhausted. Cathi’s care team knew she would not recover in the absence of motivation. The lung rescue team worked together with the NICU team so that Cathi could meet her baby girl in hopes it would encourage her to keep fighting to survive. Cathi met baby Raya five weeks after she delivered. Dr. Satterfield said meeting her baby was Cathi’s turning point in her recovery, and the fact that they’re both alive is the grace of God. Today, Cathi and baby Raya are comfortably back home. It was the love of being a mother that got Cathi through the scariest moments of her life. Critically-ill mother meets baby for the first time five weeks after giving birth Cathi Aguilera and her baby, Raya MethodistHospital |Metropolitan earns fourth Healthcare Equality Leader recognition Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan was recognized as a Healthcare Equality Leader for their partnership with local LGBTQ+ organizations to better understand gaps in service and needs of this patient population, for the fourth year in a row. "We believe our diverse employee population better enables us to provide exceptional care to our communities," said Greg Seiler, CEO, Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan. "Our colleagues are proud of our designated leadership status with the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index, and it has helped colleagues to feel more com- fortable, safe, and part of our family." In addition, the hospital has established a Patient Family Advisory Council to strengthen its commitment to the needs of LGBTQ+ patients and the community. Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan receives designations for moms and babies Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan recently earned Level III Maternal Care and NICU facility designations given by the Texas Department of State Health Services. “Despite COVID-19, our hospital has remained focused on providing family- centered care, and both of these designations show our dedication to providing a full scope of care for mothers and their babies,” said Greg Seiler, CEO at Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan. We’re proud of the Methodist Hospital | Metropolitan team for their hard work and con- tinued dedication to providing exceptional care. Michael Estrada and Evelyn Gutierrez celebrate LGBTQ+ recognition.