By Amber Dems — Staff reporter
Updated: 06/24/2013 11:42:21 AM PDT
LAKE COUNTY — In the heart of Cobb Mountain, Brittney Wise was days away from delivering a baby boy, when she noticed an immense pain in her uterus that increased by the hour.
Early in the day on April 25, 2012, Wise’s placenta tore from the wall of her uterus, immediately compromising the oxygen supply to the baby.
With her 18-month-old son, Logan, in her care, Wise was the lone adult in her home with no cell phone reception.
Frantic text messages to Wise’s aunt led to an ambulance being summoned for the young mother.
With a 30-minute ambulance ride to St. Helena Hospital, Clear Lake still in front of her, Wise was losing blood and consciousness quickly.
Brandon Whittle also received distressed text messages from his girlfriend and arrived at the hospital just as Wise was being prepped for a c-section.
“It was chaos, there were doctors, nurses and hospital staff swarming around her and all I could see was her lifeless body,” Whittle recalled. He described her body as contorted; her stomach pushed out one way, her legs the other.
Minutes later, a small crib was rushed out of the operating room carrying Wise’s newborn son, Branson. Because of complications from the placenta, Branson was born unresponsive and immediately transferred by helicopter to UC San Francisco Medical Center.
The sudden, loud sound of heels caught Whittle’s attention as he turned he saw Dr. Paula Dhanda, an OB-GYN, running down the hallway. While Wise was given blood and platelet transfusions, Dhanda performed an emergency supracervical hysterectomy, removing only the uterus, which ultimately saved the young mother’s life.
Wise briefly stabilized, but her vitals fell again quickly as the transfused blood was not clotting properly, which is common in patients who experience a substantial blood loss.
An emergency ultrasound was conducted, where blood was found pooling in Wise’s abdomen, putting her in danger of complete organ failure. Dhanda returned in seconds, followed by her team of surgeons.
With thoughts of losing Wise consuming his mind, Whittle dropped to one knee, singing Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” asking Wise to marry him.
Dhanda and her team of surgeons worked quickly to reinforce the surgical site, controlling the bleeding. Although Wise was in critical condition, she was conscious and stable.
By his first birthday, Branson was tested for everything from brain damage to cerebral palsy. His parents happily reported he is meeting all of his developmental goals.
The family reunited with Dhanda a year after Wise almost lost her life. Whittle thanked Dhanda with grateful tears in his eyes, “Because of you, I have a family,” he said.
Dhanda is known internationally for her nonprofit foundation, Worldwide Healing Hands, which cares for woman and children in the most underserved areas of the world.
She is also known for her selfless contributions locally.
Amber Dems can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.