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No More Tummy Trouble Nov 5, 2012

Patient Name: Wyatt S., Dorchester
Care Provided: Emergency Services / Urgent Care, General Surgeon

When 3-year-old Wyatt S., of Dorchester, started having flu-like symptoms and developed a mild fever, his mom, Karin, didn’t think it was anything serious.

“Eventually he began vomiting and saying his belly hurt, which my husband [Jeremy] and I attributed to the vomiting,” Karin recalls.

Not until two days later did anything appear clearly wrong.

“Thursday morning, our little 6-pound wiener dog happened to jump up next to Wyatt in his chair while he was watching cartoons,” Karin says. “As she sat down, she bumped him and he just screamed in pain. That’s when I figured it had to be something more than the flu.”

A trip to Memorial Health Center’s emergency department in Medford and a consultation with general surgeon Lori Lee, DO, revealed that Wyatt had appendicitis. This condition occurs when the appendix, a small organ attached to the large intestine, becomes swollen or infected. 

The main symptom of appendicitis is pain around your belly button that may start off mild, but becomes increasingly sharp and severe. Often the pain travels to the lower right area of your abdomen. You might also experience diarrhea or constipation, a low fever, a queasy stomach, vomiting and a loss of appetite.

The appendix isn’t important to your health, but if it ruptures, it can be a life-threatening medical emergency.

A quick surgery
“The emergency department staff checked Wyatt over as soon as we arrived,” Karin says. “Right away they thought it was his appendix and called Dr. Lee to take a look. It was very quick.”

“Dr. Lee immediately made room in her schedule for him,” Jeremy recalls. “Within two to three hours he was in surgery.” 

Dr. Lee removed Wyatt’s appendix in a surgery known as an appendectomy.

“The surgery itself only lasted a half hour to 45 minutes from the time they took him in to the time he was wheeled out,” Karin says. “Dr. Lee and all the surgery staff did a tremendous job getting Wyatt in and out of surgery so quickly.”

Care and attention, family-style
Recovery time after an appendectomy is typically short. Most patients leave the hospital within a day or two. Wyatt spent two nights healing from his surgery on Memorial Health Center’s Medical/Surgical Unit.

“The staff treated him so excellently,” Karin says. “They really pampered him, which he got used to. When he got back home, he wanted everyone here to pamper him too. The hospital cook was even willing to cook him chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, and whatever else he wanted.”

“Wyatt was a really popular patient,” Jeremy laughs. “Everyone paid him such wonderful attention.”

During his stay, Wyatt received visits from the people who treated him, such as the anesthetists who put him to sleep for his surgery and his surgical nurses.

“We really appreciate that they made time in their schedules to check in on him,” Karin says. “Everyone was so caring and helpful, keeping us well-informed throughout our entire stay. It made a very nerve-racking situation much easier to deal with. We couldn’t have asked for anything better anywhere.”

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