When Reese Lisenby of Dothan was almost 3 years old, she developed pneumonia. X-rays showed a life-threatening accumulation of fluid around her lungs. Her parents, Judd and Nicole, were told that she needed to be transported by ambulance from the local hospital to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.
“A great sense of panic set in – going to Children’s meant that Reese’s situation was critical,” Nicole recalls. The Lisenbys’ situation was compounded by the fact that Nicole was eight months pregnant with their second child.
At Children’s, Reese’s pneumonia worsened. More fluid had accumulated around her lung and, after a lung tap failed to remove enough of the fluid, Surgeon Keith Georgeson was called in. He explained to the Lisenbys that they would not know the extent of the damage to Reese’s lung until the surgery began. At best, they could remove the fluid, which had now become like gelatin; at worst, they would need to remove a part of her lung.
“Those hours became surreal and, looking back, I remember how difficult it was to wait without knowing how things would turn out for our daughter,” says Nicole. “But after the surgery, Dr. Georgeson came out with a smile on his face. He was able to successfully remove the fluid by using a new technique called Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS). It was only then that he told us that if she had not had this surgery, she could easily have died.”
After another week at Children’s, Reese was able to return home.
“I cannot imagine another place we would have rather been during that terrible time,” says Nicole. “I have never met more capable, concerned or comforting nurses and staff than at Children’s Hospital. The technology that they use to save children is awesome, and the personal attention that they give to each patient and their families is overwhelming. I still remember those special people who helped us with so many little things like bathing, changing and feeding Reese when she was too weak to roll over or walk.”
Five years later, Reese is a healthy and active 8-year-old who shows no signs of the pneumonia. “She is a wonderful big sister to her little brother, Judson,” Nicole says. “Our family is so thankful to everyone who helped care for all of us during our time at Children’s. Reese has become a voice for Children’s Hospital and will quickly tell how they saved her life.
“We are so fortunate to have such a superb facility in Alabama. It is truly a hospital where medical miracles happen every day!”