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COVID-19 Left Me Alone in the ICU

May 15, 2020 By Whitney Williams

COVID-19 Left Me Alone in the ICU

My name is Whitney Williams and I delivered my daughter on 4/5/20 at 34w4d due to preeclampsia and severe HELLP syndrome.  I had an un-eventful pregnancy up until my Tele-health visit with my provider at 34w1d. 

I mentioned to her I had been checking my blood pressure at home because at my previous visit by blood pressure was 130/80 which was really high for me.  I had a blood pressure that day of 140/90 so she sent me to the office to have labs and get a BP check and mentioned moving my induction to 37 weeks.  My blood pressure was 140/100 at the clinic and I was spilling protein in my urine.  So, my doctor moved up my induction.  She told me if I had another blood pressure of 140/90 to go to labor and delivery. 

My blood pressure was good for two days then on the second day at bedtime it was 140/98 and I was having epigastric pain so I called a family member to take me to the hospital.  At the hospital my blood pressure was good but I developed right upper quadrant pain radiating to my shoulder.  The doctor ran labs and ordered an MRI to check for aortic dissection.  The labs showed I had HELLP syndrome and the MRI incidentally showed my liver hematoma.  They didn’t want to deliver right away because I was on Lovenox for blood clotting issues.  But, by 4am on 4/5/20 I was in horrible pain and was taken for emergency C-section.  During the C-section I had uterine rupture and was sent by ambulance to the local academic hospital to see the Trauma Surgeons. 

I ended up needed an emergent hysterectomy.  My liver also had a subcapsular rupture and I had to get liver embolization.  I was in the ICU open for a day before they went back in to stop the bleeding.  I spend 24 days in the hospital and my daughter was transferred to the same hospital as me and spent 25 days in the NICU.  She had to be intubated and placed on a cooling blanket initially due to concern for hypoxia during delivery. 

COVID made this whole experience so much worse because my husband was only allowed with me during my ICU stay since it was a life or death situation.  Otherwise, I spent 18 days on the floor without any family or friends visiting.  Also, due to my tele-health visit on 34w1d and if I hadn’t been checking my BP at home and reported it to my doctor who knows if I would have made it to the hospital in time. 

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