April 11, 2012
Kaiser Permanente Showcases Patients Who Now ‘Breathe a Little Easier’
As winter turns to spring, people start to spend time outdoors again. In April, Kaiser Permanente’s “Care Stories” blog features three members who couldn’t continue to take breathing for granted. Thanks to the care they received from Kaiser Permanente, these members are now able to breathe a little easier.
Mike and Joy Douglass got their greatest scare as parents two years ago when Sofia Douglass, their 5-year-old daughter, struggled to breathe as her lips turned blue. The couple rushed her to the hospital, where an allergist diagnosed Sofia with asthma. The Douglasses worried every time their daughter went out to play that she might risk an asthma attack. Cynthia Lamb, RN, asthma care coordinator at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, helped set their minds at ease by teaching them about medications and how best to control their daughter’s asthma. “Now I know that it’s under control,” said Mike Douglass.
Longtime runner Warren Head knew he had a problem when he couldn’t jog a quarter of a mile without getting winded. In 1990, Head was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, which affected his liver and lungs. By 2003, with his condition worsening, Head’s physician, Reginald Mason, MD, at Kaiser Permanente Georgia, informed him that a lung transplant was the only alternative. Dr. Mason and Faye Corder, RN, coached Head on how to stay current on the transplant list and what to expect should a lung become available. After Head got a long-awaited call in 2005 from physicians at the University of Virginia and received a new lung, his Kaiser Permanente team telephoned him after surgery to check on him. “The people who work at Kaiser (Permanente) really do care,” said Head. “It’s like they’re on a mission. They have your best interest at heart.”
Roxlyn Cole, a Kaiser Permanente member for more than 30 years, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in early 2003. The disease causes permanent damage to the lungs and constricts the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Cole, 73, hasn’t let COPD slow her down. She invited her pulmonologist, Christopher Bates, MD, at Kaiser Permanente Colorado to join her for the Fight for Air Climb, an event sponsored by the American Lung Association to raise funds for research. Dr. Bates has seen Cole make great strides: “She’s taken a disease which for many people knocks them down and used it as a rallying point.”
The “Care Stories” blog presents Kaiser Permanente members talking about their own care in their own words, unscripted and uncompensated. It also showcases physicians and employees doing what they do best — caring for members and striving to do that better each day.