We read about Dr. Hernandez’s online postings about the Healthcare System in Guadalajara and in particular about our SEGURO POPULAR insurance. So in August of 2014 we decided to establish care with him so that he may guide us through the system and get the care we needed.
On Sunday, January 25th 2015, my husband Gary had some pepperoni pizza for dinner. Shortly afterwards, he said that he must have eaten too much pepperoni. He had a stomach ache and went to bed. Monday morning, he was fine, but still had a little pain. I made him a breakfast, and he again felt pain after eating. I began to worry that it was his gall bladder.
He didn’t eat too much the rest of Monday. Tuesday morning he was really hurting, so I decided to take him to see a doctor. Dr. Santiago Hernandez was in Guadalajara, and I didn’t think this was serious enough to trouble him. So I took Gary to our “old” doctor. I really thought this was gall bladder and he’d have to watch what he ate until I could arrange to have the gall bladder removed in a few days.
The “old” doctor examined Gary (who walked into the office on his own and participated in the examination). He said that it wasn’t gall bladder but rather salmonella. He prescribed an antibiotic and a muscle relaxant for the cramping. Said it would take a day or two for him to feel better. He did a blood test to confirm it, but said he was sure and sent us home. The results of the blood test would be available in two days.
Gary took the medicines and went to bed. He was a bit groggy and not hungry and still in pain, but I thought we were on the path to fixing the problem.
In the middle of the night the dogs were wandering and upset. I got up to let them out and went to the bathroom door to see how Gary was doing. I called to him, “Are you OK?”. The answer came back, “Not really.” So, I opened the door and there he was on the bathroom floor. He didn’t know how long he had been on the floor, but he couldn’t get up. He was as weak as an over cooked noodle. Now I’m thinking that he had a medicine reaction … the muscle relaxant must have been too much. I was sure he would be OK in the morning.
No such luck! He was still unable to stand up without support … very groggy … and still in pain. So, I called Dr. Santiago Hernandez and told him that Gary was in trouble. He told me that he would be to our house as soon as possible. When he got here, he examined Gary and found him to be in a state of shock. He had a very low blood pressure, high and very irregular heart rate, clammy and in a stuperous state. He stated that we urgently had to get him to the hospital in Guadalajara ASAP. The doctor and a male friend carried Gary to the doctor’s own car and belted him in. Off we went with Dr. Hernandez calling the hospital and getting it ready for our arrival. He also called the surgical team and the cardiac specialist so they would be at the hospital.
After tests, it was determined that Gary’s gall bladder had been perforated and was leaking bile and blood into his system and had now developed peritonitis. I was told that urgent surgery may save him, but it had to be right then. Dr. Hernandez arranged for me to have an inexpensive room in the hospital, since Gary would be in surgery and ICU. This way I could have a place to rest. Four hours later, he came to let me know that Gary had made it through surgery but that his chances of survival were about 50/50. After two more days in the ICU, I made the decision to get Gary home.
With Dr. Santiago Hernandez’s help, we arranged for home nursing, an ambulance ride, and all the equipment we would need to provide in-home care. Dr. Hernandez was present and oversaw the entire ordeal from beginning to end with great efficacy and professionalism.
He called, email, or visited throughout the first two weeks. He adjusted the treatment plan and helped link us up with physical therapy. Once Gary was on the road to recovery, Dr. Santiago still maintained weekly contact with us and has been a continual positive force in the recovery process. I can also state that Dr. Hernandez had his network of doctors immediately available to provide the best of care when such a dire situation arises. The team of doctors stabilized Gary, operated him, saw him through the ICU and are still updated on Gary’s status even now. This was quite challenging keeping in mind that Gary has a serious heat condition and diabetes and was well managed while his body overcame the sepsis.
I can happily say that Gary is now 95% back to normal. Only after I had survived the first week of this health crisis did I research perforated gall bladders. I now know that my husband wouldn’t be alive if Dr. Santiago Hernandez hadn’t come when called and organized the surgery on the ride to Guadalajara. At Gary’s age the survival rate is about 20%.
As if the life of my husband wasn’t enough, Dr. Santiago Hernandez kept in mind that we didn’t have a lot of money. He helped arrange time payments and lower costs throughout the entire ordeal. He even has brought each payment to Guadalajara for us.
Grateful doesn’t even begin to sum it up! He will be remembered forever in our prayers.
Gary and Carol Curtis
San Juan Cosala