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Mary Smartt – Emergency Department Success Story

The Right Place for Emergency Care

undefinedWhen Mary Smartt was moving from Canton to Grand Prairie, she became very ill. She had difficulty talking, swallowing, and breathing, as well as blurred vision and facial paralysis. Her two daughters, Jeannie Allen and Sharan Barrett, drove her to the emergency department (ED) at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Upon arrival in the ED, a nurse immediately brought Smartt a wheelchair and helped the daughters get their mom into the triage area for an examination.

"After seeing her condition, they began examining her and caring for our mother as if she were their own," Barrett says. "Jeannie and I were very nervous, because we thought we were losing our mom, but the caring attitude of the nurse set our minds at rest. She took the time to thoroughly explain the care they were giving Mom, answering all of our questions and reassuring us they would do everything they could to get her well again."

The ED team at Methodist Mansfield performed multiple tests on Smartt, including an electrocardiogram, MRI and CT scans, and a blood work analysis. Afterward, the attending physician, Rizwan Shah, MD, an independently practicing neurologist on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield, met with the family and said Smartt had myasthenia gravis and a fractured jaw.

The right treatment

Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by variable weakness of voluntary muscles, which often improves with rest and worsens with activity, Dr. Shah explains.

"The condition is often caused by an abnormal immune response and treated with plasmapheresis," he says.

Smartt's other doctor, Ashfaq Siddiqui, MD, an independently practicing general surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield, began this very procedure, a process in which blood plasma containing antibodies against the body are removed and replaced with fluids free of antibodies.

undefined"I underwent treatment and began to regain my sight, my speech improved, and I was able to swallow," Smartt says. Smartt continued treatments until she was strong enough to undergo surgery with Douglas Sinn, DDS, an independently practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield, who reset her jaw.

"It's been a long 2½ months, but I am getting stronger and feel so much better," Smartt says. "I don't think I would have been able to attend my grandson's wedding if it weren't for the doctors and nurses at Methodist Mansfield. I walked Kenni
down the aisle without my walker – I wouldn't have been able to do that before."

The right results

Smartt's daughters are also thrilled with their mother's progress. "We feel like we've got our mom back now that she has been diagnosed correctly," Allen says. "She's able to do so much more than she has in the last 48 months. She's able to attend church, go out to lunch, and play bridge with us, and that's something she hasn't been able to do in a long time."

Barrett is also impressed with the outcome – and with the care her mother received.

"The hospital staff never mentioned her age when diagnosing or treating her," she says. "Whether she's 26 or 86, we had the right hospital with the right doctors at the right time. You can't imagine the difference it has made. We are so happy to have our mom back."

The right hospital

A few weeks ago Allen also found herself in the ED, where she was seen by Stephanie Quarles, MD, an independently practicing emergency medicine physician on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield. Allen says Dr. Quarles recognized her and asked about her mother.

"She's one in a million," Allen says of Dr. Quarles. "And it was a nice feeling to be remembered and get the same excellent care that our mother experienced 2½ months ago.

"When we need care, we know to go to Methodist Mansfield," Allen continues. "You are going to get compassionate care, the correct diagnosis, and be in good hands. All of my family's doctors are now at Methodist."