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Night for the Stars' Stories

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Riding Toward Great Health Care

Having access to health care services is important to every community, especially in an emergent situation. Rebecca Kiser of Mandan can attest to how important high quality emergency and trauma services are, not only to the community but to an individual patient as well.

It was a nice fall evening on October 19, 2017. Therefore, when Rebecca’s friend, Diane, asked Rebecca to help her take the horses out to check fencing on Diane’s ranch south of New Salem, roughly 30 minutes from Mandan, Rebecca was all in. “Riding horse is something I do often,” said Rebecca. “Even though I’m not always in control, I’ve always enjoyed it; the freedom I feel.”

That evening Rebecca was on Sundance, who she had ridden before. While heading to another section of fence line, Rebecca steered Sundance to the right. However, this time Sundance redirected and bolted to the left, causing Rebecca to fall off.

Rebecca and Diane

Rebecca Kiser and her friend, Diane, posing with the horses before heading out to ride.
 
Ranch
Diane's ranch south of New Salem.

“It happened so fast and then, ‘Bam,’ I was laying on the ground. Instantly I had pain in my chest and right side. I never felt pain like that before,” said Rebecca.

Since they were far from a vehicle Diane quickly checked Rebecca and then galloped back toward the ranch to get the pickup. Diane and her husband placed Rebecca into the truck and began driving to CHI St. Alexius Health’s Emergency & Trauma Center.

“While they drove me to the hospital we ended up getting pulled over for a broken tail light,” said Rebecca with a laugh. “Diane explained to the officer what happened. The officer let us go and called dispatch to let them know we were heading to the hospital.”

Upon arrival at around 8:30 p.m. Rebecca was seen by CHI St. Alexius Emergency & Trauma Center medical director, Dr. Jon Solberg. “When Rebecca came in she had trouble breathing and was in terrible pain,” stated Dr. Solberg. “Upon initial examination we thought she possibly had broken ribs and suffered from either a hemothorax, in which blood accumulates between the chest wall and the lung, or a pneumothorax in which air leaks into the same space. Both could possibly cause her lung to collapse, so diagnosing her as quickly as possible was important.”

“When we arrived I was in a lot of pain and I was pretty scared,” said Rebecca. “I didn’t know what was all going on or how bad I was. However, the staff was just wonderful. The nurses who gave me pain medicine joked with me and held my hand. Dr. Solberg was great too because he didn’t talk over my head, and I really appreciated that.”

While going through chest x-rays, a CT scan, and lab work, Rebecca remembers it all as a blur. “While I was in the CT scan it seemed to me like it was only a few minutes. However, my husband said it was more like an hour,” stated Rebecca.

The imaging eventually showed that Rebecca had five broken ribs, a traumatic pneumothorax and a pulmonary contusion, which is a bruised lung that can cause difficulties with oxygenation and can lead to bleeding. “We needed to get the air out of the Rebecca’s chest wall and lung space so her lung would re-inflate,” stated Dr. Solberg. “Due to her injuries and the pain it would cause, we did not want to insert a regular chest tube; but rather opted for placing a pigtail chest tube. It is a much smaller version of a regular chest tube and therefore is less invasive for a patient.”

Rebecca was taken back to the CT room where Dr. Daniel Tarver, CHI St. Alexius Health interventional radiologist, performed a CT guided pigtail chest tube insertion. By inserting the pigtail chest tube under CT guidance Dr. Tarver could more clearly see the smaller catheter and could strategically place it allowing for optimal air release and patient comfort.

Throughout the next several days Rebecca remained in the hospital for observation and had several more x-rays. “We needed to ensure the pulmonary contusion dissipated, that no new pockets of air emerged, and to ensure her lung properly inflated,” stated Dr. Solberg.

Toward the end of her stay the medical staff removed the chest tube. “It was fascinating to see, but the best part was my husband’s face as he watched,” said Rebecca with a laugh. “There was straight bafflement as to how much tubing was inside me and how the nurses had to pull it out.”

On October 22, Rebecca was discharged. “This was the first time I broke a bone, and it was my first hospital stay,” said Rebecca. “Even though it wasn’t the most fun of my life, I’m grateful to Dr. Solberg, the nurses and all the staff. They were all very caring and very upfront. If I had questions about anything, they would answer. I was super comfortable with them. I completely trusted them and still do.”

“What I like best about Rebecca’s patient experience is that it’s an example of what great community health care looks like,” said Dr. Solberg with a smile. “The reason I pursued Emergency & Trauma medicine is to be able to take care of patients when they need me the most. Our team was there for Rebecca when she needed us. I often cross paths with her while I’m out in the community, and I think ‘our team did a great job.’”

   

Star Patient

 

Rebecca Kiser is CHI St. Alexius Health’s Night for the Stars 2019 Star patient representing many of our patients who utilize our Emergency & Trauma and Radiology services. The seventh annual Night for the Stars is a black-tie-optional fundraising event scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at the Bismarck Event Center. Proceeds will advance radiology services by upgrading two computed radiography rooms to digital radiography. This technology allows for faster imaging and diagnosis of our patients while utilizing 50% less radiation. The importance of this technology is paramount as on average 83 patients a day will receive imaging; and of those patients, 55 initially present in our Emergency Room (ER). Faster scan times, better imaging, and 50% less radiation are important factors for all patients. At the same time, these aspects are critical to serving our ER patients as minutes matter in an emergent situation.

To learn more, to reserve your seats, and/or to pre-purchase 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited raffle tickets, please go to CHIStAlexiusHealth.org and search “Stars” or call  701.530.7065.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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