FHN was her lifesaver

After a Scare, Complete Care Close to Home


She usually has a lot of energy. But three years ago around Labor Day, Pat Willging was exhausted. "Just beat," she said, "and out of it after putting in my shift at CONTACT. I sat for hours. When I got up, I collapsed in a heap. It was the start of quite an ordeal."

Her concerned husband, Tom, called 911 and soon Pat arrived at FHN's Emergency Room with a fever of 105°. Sensing a serious, perhaps infectious illness, ER physicians called in Vice President of Medical Affairs and Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Robert Geller, who immediately ordered an antibiotic 'cocktail' because he suspected sepsis.

After an array of specialized tests confirmed Dr. Geller's diagnosis, Pat spent nearly two weeks in the ICU. She and her son, Pete, briefly discussed if she should be transferred to Madison, but Pat decided to stay put. "They are already here, on the camera," she assured him, pointing to the eICU transmission that essentially puts UW physicians in patient rooms for collaboration with FHN medical staff. "We are in the right place."

Turns out, Pat knew best. After healing in the eICU and in a 'regular room,' she received rehabilitation care at a local facility and continued her recovery at home with visiting nurses. It took months, but Pat eventually got back to normal due in part to her overall excellent health habits.

"I stay active and involved, which Dr. Geller thinks helped me recuperate," affirms Pat. "Why I got sepsis is a mystery, but it was diagnosed quickly and I responded well to the treatment. If I wasn't as healthy as I was, it might have been a more precarious prognosis. Twenty years of water aerobics likely made a difference."

Pat is grateful to get into the pool every day. "I am so thankful for the wonderful care I received at FHN. I could not have asked for anything better. My son says Dr. Geller saved my life. I guess he is my real lifesaver!"

If your health has been more 'sink' than 'swim' lately, or if you need help finding a provider, or obtaining an immediate appointment, please call Physician Referral at 1-877-6000-FHN (1-877-600-0346) ext. 965.. We're here to help you live a better life.

Read more about Pat in Insight magazine. (Pat's on the cover!)

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