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The MiracleWorkers

Continued on page 11

HEBREW HOME • SMITH-KOGOD & WASSERMAN RESIDENCES • COHEN-ROSEN HOUSE

ELDERSAFE

TM

CENTER • HIRSH HEALTH CENTER • LANDOW HOUSE • REVITZ HOUSE • RING HOUSE

June 2017/No. 45

Rita Helgeson says therapists Max Collins, left, and Scott Fernandez were essential to her recovery.

On December 8, Helgeson’s

cardiologist, Dr. Alan Schneider, sent

her to Suburban Hospital to undergo a

battery of tests; the results were negative,

so on December 13 she returned

home.Three days later, however, she

was back, this time in acute respiratory

distress. A bacterial blood infection had

invaded Helgeson’s mitral and tricuspid

heart valves, resulting in inflammation

of the heart’s inner lining (endocarditis),

respiratory failure, congestive heart failure,

and kidney and liver failure. Her condition

rapidly deteriorating, Dr. Melissa Means,

There were times when I doubted I’d

make it,” admits Rita Helgeson, detailing

the out-of-the-blue cardiac crisis that

nearly took her life.

A retired pharmacist with no history

of ailments, Helgeson was in “great health”

at the start of 2016, busily planning for her

daughter Jennifer’s November wedding

when suddenly her world was upended.

Diagnosed in March with arrhythmia,

an irregular heartbeat, she required

immediate treatment to restore a normal

heart rhythm. Initially reinvigorated, by late

fall she was lethargic and had no appetite.

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