It was definitely NOT the flu

Bellingham | July 26, 2017
Patients goes from urgent care to surgery within minutes

January 25, 2017 might have been a typical northwest winter day for Mark Owen. Typical, except for the terrible way he felt, and it only got worse. By the time his wife, Sarah, returned home from work, Mark felt so bad he was hunkered down by their bed.

Thinking he had a severe case of the flu, Sarah drove Mark to an urgent care clinic for a flu shot. The provider pushed on Mark’s abdomen to examine him, and he passed out. Immediately, an ambulance was called, and Mark was transported to the emergency room at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington. 

Fortunately, when Mark arrived at the ER, he was awake and alert enough to tell his name to the attending physician, Worth Everett, MD. Dr. Everett performed an ultrasound on Mark at the bedside, revealing a ruptured aortic aneurysm. His condition was serious!

The medical team at PeaceHealth St. Joseph quickly went to work, setting in motion an ideal cascade of care on Mark’s behalf. In just five minutes, Dr. Everett contacted vascular surgeon, Michelle Sohn, MD, about Mark. Within nine minutes, Mark went in for a computerized axial tomography, or CAT scan.

Dr. Sohn, who performed life-saving vascular surgery on Mark, said, “He actually lost a lot of blood and coded. The entire team jumped right into motion and started high quality CPR for more than thirty minutes. That’s a pretty unusual case. Most people don’t even actually survive that, but we were able to successfully bring him back and complete the operation.”

According to Dr. Sohn, “It really took precision and timing, coordination of care between the outpatient physician, the ER physician and communication with operating room staff. Everybody was really at the top of their game. It’s pretty remarkable to bring a patient through such a harrowing, life-threatening experience.”

Mark credits his amazing recovery to the top-notch caregivers at PeaceHealth St. Joseph and shares, “The care I received was excellent! I have the highest respect for all the people I encountered here [at PeaceHealth St. Joseph]. It was just amazing—from the orderlies as far up as you want to go. Everybody just seems to pay a great deal of attention. They do a really fabulous job!”

Mark is back to doing all the typical things he loves, like getting outdoors and exploring with his dog, Inka.

Mark & Sarah's Story