Twenty-seven blood donors and dozens of doctors and nurses saved Patricia Ordiway’s life on March 11, 2014.
After delivering her son, Ethan, via an emergency Caesarian section (C-section) at The Birth Place at Olathe Medical Center (OMC), Patricia suffered a massive blood loss. Her doctor, the late Dr. Eric Peck, worked quickly with the rest of the surgical team to save her life. Within 24 hours, Patricia received 18 units of blood, six units of blood plasma and three units of blood platelets.
“I always knew blood donation was important, and I tried to give when I could,” Patricia said. “But now when I see the blood drive at work, I know exactly the impact it can have. This blood is from local people and it saves people in our community. They saved my life.”
Patricia’s pregnancy had been healthy and uneventful, just as her first pregnancy with her daughter had been seven years earlier. Patricia labored and delivered her daughter naturally at OMC, and expected the same with her son. This time she arrived at OMC early in her 39th week of pregnancy, and Dr. Peck broke the amniotic sac to help induce labor. At first her labor progressed as expected, but as the contractions increased and she began to push, the baby was not moving through the birth canal as he should. Dr. Peck ordered an emergency C-section.
“I felt like it was a God moment that the operating room was just across the hall from my room,” said Patricia. “The nurses had me wheeled in there and prepped for surgery so quickly. Just minutes later I remember hearing my son cry, and it was the best sound in the world.”
But moments after Patricia got to kiss her son for the first time, she remembers feeling sleepy and hearing Dr. Peck ordering someone to get more blood. Patricia was hemorrhaging. Her uterus wasn’t contracting after delivery as it should, a rare complication that can happen sometimes after a long labor ends in an emergency C-section. Dr. Peck and the rest of the surgical team spent hours that afternoon in surgery working to stop the bleeding. They had to remove Patricia’s uterus that day, and return her to surgery the next day to repair a tear in the cervix. They even had to resuscitate Patricia once during surgery when her heart stopped beating.
When Patricia woke up the next day, she was in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) connected to a ventilator. But within a few hours, she was able to breathe on her own and with the help of her nurses, started to take a few steps around the unit the next day. Soon she was back in a postpartum room on the maternity floor with Ethan. Both mother and baby were discharged to home a few days later.
Today, Ethan is a busy five-year-old who is eager to start kindergarten this fall. And every March, when he blows out another candle on his birthday cake, Patricia can’t help but think of all of those people who played a part in saving her life so she can be here for every birthday.
“I feel like everyone who helped save my life are my guardian angels, but I shared a very special bond with one nurse in particular—Jenna Dandar,” said Patricia. “Jenna was with me from the time I got into the OR until the time I went home. She kept me calm and she was so loving. After going home, I tried to remember all of the names of the nurses and doctors who took care of me. I wanted to personally thank them, but also stay in touch with them as they will forever be special to me. Though I wasn’t able to connect with everyone, I am still in touch with Jenna, as well as Haley Wells (my labor and delivery nurse), Carissa Alexander (one of my night nurses), Meagan Lecki (one of my day nurses), Kimberly Ashley (one of my day nurses), and Susan Nigro, who was head of nursing at The Birth Place when I was there. All the donors and every single person who played a role in saving my life will forever be in my heart and I will forever be grateful to them.”
Olathe Medical Center hosts blood drives throughout the year. Visit our community events page for the date of the next blood drive. To find a blood drive in your area, visit the Community Blood Center site.