Thanksgiving week, Kathleen Cloud had intense pain in her side and felt nauseated. She knew something was seriously wrong. She went to two different emergency rooms for care over the course of a week and learned that her problem had to do with her gallbladder. The medicines prescribed did not seem to work, and that’s when Kathleen turned to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
“It was a holiday weekend, and I began to feel even worse. Even drinking small sips of water caused a burning feeling in my throat,” Kathleen explained. “I have never felt so bad.”
The NRMC Emergency Department did a CT scan and an ultrasound and found that a gallstone was blocking her small intestine and the top part of her stomach. Dr. Damian DeFrancesch with General Surgery Associates was the general surgeon on call that day, and he came to NRMC’s ER to see her.
“When Dr. DeFrancesch met with me, he explained that they could see a gallstone was blocking my intestine and that I could not survive with such a blockage. He asked if I had ever had surgery before, and I told him no. He then said, ‘well you’re gonna have one now.’ I trusted him. He looked me right in the eyes, and I could see he had kind eyes and that he cared about what he was doing. I felt sure he would take care of me.” Within the hour, Kathleen was in the Operating Room. Dr. DeFrancesch and the surgery team successfully removed the gallbladder and gallstone. “He showed me the gallstone, and it looked like a dinosaur egg,” Kathleen explained. “When they got in there, they could see that the duodenum, the top of the small intestine, was really infected, so I spent the next several days in the Intensive Care Unit getting antibiotics, and day-by-day I became stronger and started feeling better.”
“Everyone at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center took real good care of me. Dr. DeFrancesch saved my life. He is really a hero in my book. Everything went so well thanks to him,” Kathleen said.