The Best Support Around - An HSNT Patient Story
Being a new parent is a daunting experience. The amount of work involved in getting ready to welcome a new little person into your life can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have anyone to share the load with, and there are many things that can get complicated or go wrong. For Andrea Campbell and her son, Axel, the things that went wrong were a life-threatening perfect storm.
“My boys were born at Medical City Lewisville in December – twins. The one who had all the heart problems is Axel, and Creed is the other one,” Andrea says. “Axel stayed in the NICU for almost two months. He wasn’t breathing on his own and they didn’t know why.”
Andrea had already started looking for a pediatrician that could care for her newborns, and when Axel was released from the hospital, she could finally start taking him as well. A little bit of Googling led her to find Health Services of North Texas, and she found that HSNT was a place that would accept her children’s Medicaid coverage. Creed, and eventually Axel once he was released, saw an HSNT provider, and Andrea took a liking to her very quickly.
“[Our HSNT Provider] is very outgoing, going 90 miles an hour…and I like her a lot. I was a little worried about how she’s not a ‘doctor’ – she’s a nurse practitioner. I wasn’t really sure what the difference was, you know, since I’m a new mom and I was like ‘well I want my kids to see a doctor,’ but I wanted to give [her] a chance and she’s been great.”
In between these visits to HSNT, Andrea had been focused on taking care of Axel especially, after his complications in the hospital. His breathing was her chief concern, as the pulse oximeter that he wore kept showing his pulse going up and down. At one point, it got so concerning that she took Axel to the fire department.
“His pulse was in the thirties,” Andrea says. “But they said that there was no way, he wouldn’t have even been conscious, and that my machine must be broken. So, they didn’t take him to the hospital. Come to find out, my machine was fine. The people at HSNT are the only ones that noticed.”
The day that this perfect storm of oversights and little concerns came together, Andrea had an Early Childhood Intervention appointment at HSNT. She wasn’t able to get in to see HSNT provider like usual, so Andrea was given a time to come to HSNT’s location on Mesa Drive.
“Creed had a fever and Axel had a cough, so I knew something upper respiratory was going on, and I thought they had a cold. But then my brother called me and told me that they found out they had COVID-19, and we had seen them that weekend. So, I called HSNT and explained my concerns, and when we got there, they were saying ‘I don’t like [Axel’s] color.’ I told them that he’s always pale all the time, and I was just going off the medical advice from Medical City, but we came to find out that my son had slowly been suffocating for the past three weeks that he’d been home.”
That day at HSNT, they immediately recognized something was very wrong. They called Axel’s pulmonologist and told them that Andrea was coming into the Emergency Room, but because it was rush hour it took Andrea ninety minutes – from Denton all the way to Plano – to reach the hospital. She checked in, the nurses decided to take Axel back right away, and just as Andrea handed off her son to the nurse, he had a seizure.
“Literally when she took him in her hands, Axel had a seizure because he’d had a stroke,” Andrea says. “He had no pulse for 24 minutes while they were doing CPR, once they resuscitated him they put him on a ventilator. When he was stable enough, they transferred him to Children’s Hospital of Dallas.”
At Children’s Dallas, Axel had an echocardiogram done on his heart, revealing a Total anomalous pulmonary venous return, or TAPVR. In a baby with TAPVR, oxygen-rich blood does not return from the lungs to the left atrium. Instead, the oxygen-rich blood returns to the right side of the heart. Here, oxygen-rich blood mixes with oxygen-poor blood, which causes the baby to get less oxygen than they need.
“They said he should’ve had this surgery two days after birth, by then he was 12 weeks old,” Andrea says. “We couldn’t do it immediately, because he had that cough that we went HSNT for in the first place, and he’d gotten such a severe lung infection, he had gone so long without anybody knowing what was wrong that it was slowly ruining his lungs. We waited about 4 days, and then he had the open surgery.”
“[Our provider] is still doing all Axel’s post-op stuff, so his breathing treatments and weight check stuff. Not only that, but when Axel was still in the hospital [she] called to see how he was. It’s incredible to have a person that really cares. For example, [our provider] doesn’t have any other kids who are on Alimentum [baby formula]. Axel is on that one, and she had all these samples, and she just gave me all of them. I can’t tell you how expensive formula is, and someone willing to help me out and understands…that a lot for anyone.”
Andrea has gone through so much in the past few months as she worked hard to make sure her boys were healthy. Finding out that she was pregnant, then finding out she was going to have twins, then having her fiancé leave her – all of that is enough for anyone to feel like they’re alone. But, along with her mother, HSNT was able to give Andrea the support she needed.
“HSNT was totally understanding. I made like six different appointments for Axel, for his newborn appointment, because I kept getting told he’d be out of the hospital by this day, or out by that day, but they were so understanding when I kept calling to change his appointment.
“I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to find a decent facility that was well-maintained, I was so scared to put my kids on Medicaid, because I’d heard so many things about it… it was just a rollercoaster of ‘how am I going to take care of these boys?’ I have an amazing mother who I moved in with when my fiancé decided he wanted to leave… it’s definitely been a blessing to have such a good healthcare facility.”