A Bond to Be Remembered
Date: June 25, 2013
It was supposed to be one of the most special times of Diana Van Do’s life. Pregnant with twins, she checked into The Johns Hopkins Hospital—where she also was a faculty member and retina surgeon at the Wilmer Eye Institute—to undergo what should have been a routine caesarean section.
When it was over, she and her husband, Quan Dong Nguyen, who was also a Johns Hopkins faculty member at Wilmer, had a pair of perfect, healthy twins. But, rather than savoring her first few moments with her babies, Do developed an infection that rapidly worsened, rendering her unconscious and nearly unable to breathe. Her condition grim, she was transferred to the Weinberg intensive care unit (ICU), where she was placed in the care of critical care surgeon Pamela Lipsett.
Lipsett diagnosed Do with E. coli septic shock, the result of a bowel perforation that occurred during the C-section. They rushed her to the operating room, where they removed the infected matter from her abdomen. “Over the course of two weeks,” says Do, “I was brought to the operating room a total of seven times for multiple abdominal surgeries. I was gravely ill and unconscious for almost two and a half weeks. I stayed in the ICU for six weeks. I don’t think anyone thought I was going to survive.”
But she miraculously did, and today gives much of the credit to the efforts of Lipsett. “Our families and I developed such a special bond with Dr. Lipsett,” Do says. “My husband, parents, sisters and aunt spent all their waking hours in the ICU, and Dr. Lipsett and the entire ICU team were always supportive and considerate of their need to be with me.”
“She never left my wife’s bedside during Diana’s most acute period in the ICU,” says Nguyen. “She was always there, looking over Diana and making critical decisions regarding her surgeries and care.”
“Our family really depended on her, the surgery team and the ICU nurses,” Do says. “We’re so grateful to them.”
So grateful, in fact, that after being discharged from the hospital two months later, Do, Nguyen and their families began discussing how best to demonstrate their appreciation for Lipsett through giving. Ultimately, they decided to establish and fund the Pamela Ann Lipsett, M.D., M.H.P.E. Endowed Lectureship. The first lecture will take place in May 2014, with Lipsett as the inaugural speaker.
“We believe an endowed lectureship will remind patients, colleagues, nurses and staff that Dr. Lipsett is a very special, caring physician, even among the Johns Hopkins physicians, who has touched the lives of so many patients,” Do says. “We love Dr. Lipsett and hope that this small token will inspire others to emulate her and provide the best care possible to all patients.”