Inspiring Stories

After Husband’s Experience in Critical Care Unit, Woman Praises Methodist Hospital for Having ‘Best Staff in Town'

Published: May 16, 2023

Larry Harrold was in a fight for his life last month in the Methodist Hospital Critical Care Unit.

Soon after being diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer in mid-March, Larry was scheduled for surgery with George Dittrick, MD, to remove the tumor.

“They got him in that next week,” said his wife, Debra. “What really impresses me and touches me is that they didn’t look at him and say, ‘Here’s a 76-year-old guy with pancreatic cancer. Let’s keep him comfortable. No. They said, ‘We’re going for it.’”

Complications after the procedure – pneumonia that led to respiratory failure and time on a ventilator; an intestinal infection; and sepsis – landed Larry in the Critical Care Unit. A subsequent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed a nearly blocked carotid artery that required a stent.

In a situation where it would have been easy to focus on the negative, Debra again saw reason for optimism.

“Nobody gave up on him,” she said.


Thanking Them All

Larry spent nearly two weeks in the Critical Care Unit, working his way off the ventilator and improving enough to be moved to the Progressive Care Unit. With her husband on the mend, Debra took time to write a note of thanks.

“I can't thank you enough for all the wonderful staff in ICU that cared for him,” she wrote. “They were all loving, diligent, caring and so knowledgeable about just the right thing to do for him, and for me. All of them were so kind to me as I sat with him 24/7.”

Among the many staff members who stood out to the Harrolds was Mikayla Wise, BSN, RN.

“She was out of this world exceptional,” Debra said from Larry’s bedside on the Progressive Care Unit. “She just went the extra mile for him constantly.”

Augustine Ofafa, BSN, RN, also made a strong impression the first night Larry spent on the unit.

“Augustine stood at his bedside literally every minute of the night, adjusting this and that,” Debra said. “He was just tireless.”

Her note listed over 20 other people who touched their lives, including doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants and cleaning staff.

“I don’t know how you managed to hire all the best staff in town, but it seems you have,” she wrote.


“An Incredible Team”

Ofafa said he appreciated Debra’s praise, but seeing Larry’s improvement during his time at the hospital is most rewarding.

“It means a lot, especially when you’re not always going to get success stories,” he said. “During COVID, there were a lot of outcomes that weren’t great. It deflates you when you work so hard and somebody still doesn’t make it out of the hospital. When somebody is on the brink of something bad happening and you help get them out of that, you take it as a win.”

Wise is also proud of the difference she made for the Harrolds. And she agrees with Deb’s praise of the entire care team.

“We have such an incredible team,” said Wise, who studied nursing at Nebraska Methodist College. “When someone is crashing or if we just need simple help, it doesn't matter who you ask. There will always be someone there for you, without question. I've seen our team save hundreds of lives at this point.”

The next step in Larry’s recovery will likely be rehabilitation – Debra is hoping he’ll move to the Methodist Acute Rehabilitation Center at the hospital. Whatever comes next, she’ll be mindful that it wouldn’t have been possible without the team of caregivers on the Critical Care Unit.

“My husband almost died, and every one of them worked hard and brought him back to me,” she said. “My whole family is grateful. He has two little granddaughters who want their grandpa back, and that's going to happen.”

More Resources

About the Author

Patrick Smith, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, has over a decade of experience writing and editing for newspapers and other publications. He enjoys meeting new people and telling stories that highlight Methodist's mission to deliver The Meaning of Care.

See more articles from Patrick Smith
Photo of Patrick Smith