Why I give: After fighting for her life, local woman gives back (sponsored) | TheUnion.com

Why I give: After fighting for her life, local woman gives back (sponsored)

Amy Abt
Special to The Union

A little over a year ago, Kimberly Murdoch almost lost her life to an infection that causes about one million hospitalizations and more than 50,000 deaths per year.

On Feb. 3, 2016, Kimberly was rushed to Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital by an ambulance called by her husband, Craig. Once at the hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia that had gone septic.

According to Craig, the next three months of their lives were spent in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit, where doctors, nurses and surgeons attempted to stabilize Kimberly's condition.

"Those three months were a battle to keep her alive," said Craig. "The infection was in her lungs and she had to be immediately put on antibiotics and had to have a tracheotomy procedure. Every day there was something new that needed to be addressed. The doctors would tell me that we will probably take a baby step forward and then two back and hopefully get to the point where it's two steps forward and one back."

With the help of several physicians, SNMH ICU staff and many family members, Kimberly was able to recover, slowly but surely. Craig attributes her recovery to quick-thinking physicians and several nurses that he considers to be "A-plus." He added that while in the ICU, he and Kimberly had the chance to consult with several doctors via the hospital's telemedicine robots.

"We talked to about five different doctors from all over," said Craig. "Some of them were experts from larger hospitals. It's just reassuring to have all those different viewpoints. I think it's fabulous. It's one of the best things the hospital has ever done."

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The robot in the ICU not only allows for access to a specialist almost immediately (five minutes or less), but is also able to round on patients twice each day, providing bedside support.

To date, the Tele-ICU program has treated more than 750 patients and produced significant improvements in several metrics, including time in ICU, time on ventilator, infection rates, re-intubation rates, and re-admission rates.

Additionally, the Tele-ICU program produced improvements in every ancillary service associated with ICU care, including respiratory therapy, pharmacy, ICU nursing, and radiology.

According to Craig, Kimberly is doing much better and is looking forward to the Lake Wildwood Country Club pool opening so she can participate in water aerobics. The couple also has a vacation to Maui planned for February 2018.

"She has always wanted to go there," said Craig. "It's on her bucket list, so of course, we just have to make that happen."

Kimberly is currently on oxygen and using a walker to assist with her movement. She is determined to be able to walk on the beach without it while in Maui and is building up her strength every day.

"I drove for the first time the other day," said Kimberly. "Each day gets better. Craig still helps me a lot with the cooking and does a wonderful job blow drying my hair. I'm hoping while in Maui I can be off my oxygen long enough to go in the ocean. I have some good goals ahead of me and I just have to figure out how to achieve them."

In addition to planning their Maui vacation, the Murdochs recently decided to give back to the hospital responsible for saving Kimberly's life. The couple chose to give by donating their Bayliner boat to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation's Wheels for Wellness Program.

"I saw the poster hanging on the wall during our stay in the hospital," said Craig. "When I decided to get rid of my boat I remembered and made the phone call."

SNMH Foundation Executive Director Kimberly Parker says gracious donations like the Murdochs have a substantial impact on patient care

"The Wheels for Wellness program is a wonderful option for those interested in supporting the hospital," said Parker. "Vehicle donations have been directed to many areas of our hospital including our cancer center, emergency department, area of greatest need and more."

For more information on SNMH Foundation's Wheels for Wellness program, please visit http://www.supportsierranevada.org/wheelsforwellness or call 530-477-9700.

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.

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