Overcoming Health Challenges - NBC4 Washington

B onita Bell is an active mother of two who spends time with her family, sewing and taking care of her dog Cranberry. On December 1, 2018, her day started normally - she took Cranberry to the veterinarian and then drove to a friend’s house to drop off a piece she had sewed. But “as soon as I walked in I felt something wasn't quite right. After that I just laid down on the floor and asked for help,” recalls Bonita.

Bonita was suffering from chest and back pain when the paramedics arrived at Bonita’s friend’s house. They quickly rushed her to George Washington University Hospital where she collapsed and required CPR. Steadfastly, the team of doctors needed to figure out the cause of her condition.

A Potential Lifesaver for the Critically Ill

After four days on the ECMO machine, Bonita’s heart and lungs progressed enough for the doctors to use the Inari FlowTriever® System as PE treatment. Used for the very first time in the region by GW Hospital, this device removes large volumes of clot from the pulmonary arteries, improving heart function while avoiding the need for thrombolytic drugs and their associated risk of bleeding.

Along with doctors Shawn Sarin and Al Chun, interventional radiologists, Dr. Pocock successfully removed Bonita’s blood clot. Over the next 48 hours, her heart function improved enough to remove her from the ECMO machine.

Bonita regained consciousness 10 days later, a welcoming sight to the medical team who thoroughly explained her path to recovery and answered all of her many questions. “I felt comfortable and secure that I was in the best hands,” says Bonita. “They treated me like my care was second to none. When people love what they're doing it makes a difference.”

Along with doctors Shawn Sarin and Al Chun, interventional radiologists, Dr. Pocock successfully removed Bonita’s blood clot. Over the next 48 hours, her heart function improved enough to remove her from the ECMO machine.

Bonita regained consciousness 10 days later, a welcoming sight to the medical team who thoroughly explained her path to recovery and answered all of her many questions. “I felt comfortable and secure that I was in the best hands,” says Bonita. “They treated me like my care was second to none. When people love what they're doing it makes a difference.”

Valuing Life More

Bonita was released from the hospital a month later. Today, she lives with her younger son, David, but is completely independent and plans to live her life to the fullest in unstoppable fashion.

“I ran into her on the street the other day and she was walking faster than I was. Her recovery was remarkable,” says Dr. Pocock.

After beating PE, Bonita believes this experience has changed her outlook as she now wakes up every morning thanking God for her astonishing outcome. “I get really emotional when I think about where I was and where I'm at today. When I say I'm blessed, I really am,” she says.

Robust Cardiac Care at GW Hospital

For patients like Bonita, GW Hospital provides lifesaving, advanced care to better manage their patients’ conditions. The hospital is the first in the region to use the FlowTriever device for the treatment of pulmonary embolism, bringing the cardio capabilities of the hospital to a whole new level. Visit GWHospital.com for more information on the FlowTriever device and to learn about other comprehensive programs for the advanced treatment of heart disease and vascular disorders.