The Institute for Patient Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Hospital
Gail Thomas’ Story
“They Made a Negative Thing Positive”
“You are a walking time-bomb for cancer.” Imagine hearing those words. No doubt you’d be scared, upset, and worried about your future. Now add to that two extenuating circumstances: you do not have a physician nor medical center you can trust.
This is the situation that 64-year-old Texas resident Gail Thomas found herself in. After experiencing some unusual spotting in February 2008, Gail made an appointment with a gynecologist. She soon found out this bleeding was a sign of a bigger problem. Gail had an ultrasound and it showed a significant thickening of the lining of her uterus. A biopsy was then performed and the results were devastating— she had pre-cancerous cells. This is when her doctor uttered those terrifying words, “you are a walking time-bomb for cancer.” A complete hysterectomy was recommended.
“I didn’t know where to turn,” recalls Gail.
Gail is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and her utmost desire was to find a doctor and hospital that would respect her views on the sanctity of blood. In the past, she had traveled to North Carolina for medical care and was not completely satisfied. She didn’t have a surgeon she felt comfortable with and, more importantly, she didn’t have a hospital nearby that was experienced in bloodless surgery. She knew that hysterectomies could be a very involved procedure and she had to find someone who was experienced in doing the surgery without blood transfusions—and do it well.
“Hospitals and doctors have always looked down upon me and my family when I’ve told them that I was a Jehovah’s Witnesses and would not accept blood. I had to find somewhere that wouldn’t do that.”
Then Gail remembered a DVD she had seen that was an answer to her prayers. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center was featured on the video, No Blood—Medicine Meets the Challenge, produced by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Her fear then turned to peace of mind.
“I knew right away I would have the surgery in New Jersey. I had to go to a bloodless facility. My daughter lived in Connecticut and I immediately made plans to stay with her. I suddenly was put at ease knowing I would be in good hands.”
Gail called the Bloodless Center at Englewood Hospital and without delay things were put into place to get her the medical attention she needed. She was put into contact with Nimesh Nagarsheth, MD and Francis Forte, MD, her new surgeon and hematologist who would be taking the lead in her medical care. Within a week of contacting Englewood Hospital her surgery was scheduled!
“For the first time I was not a number. They had deep concern for me and wanted me to get better. When I arrived at the hospital, Tom Greco, Vice-President responsible for the Bloodless Institute at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, hugged me, and [Coordinator] Robin Canada took care of me like family. They made a negative thing positive.”
Since the surgery Gail is feeling great and can’t help but broadcast her experience to all her friends and family. She will continue to come to New Jersey every three months for a check-up, but she doesn’t mind.
“The compassion there was amazing. I have never met a hospital staff like this. It was a wonderful experience—emotionally, spiritually and physically. I can’t say enough about Englewood Hospital!”