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"We were treated like royalty. They rolled out the red carpet, took care of my husband’s needs as well as my needs. It was amazing. We would go back in a heartbeat because they know what they are doing."

Connie Casey

Treated Like Royalty at Regional One Health

Last fall when David Casey woke up one Tuesday morning, he wasn’t feeling quite right. Seemed like a virus of some sort, he thought. He felt even worse the next day, but still went to work at Northwest Mississippi Community College to teach his usual class.

David assumed he had just caught a stomach virus. But the increasing abdominal swelling and intense pain made it obvious something wasn’t right. He was barely able to get through the rest of his workday before heading to his family doctor, hoping to find answers. Preliminary tests proved to be inconclusive and David’s instructions from the doctor were to go to a hospital if the situation got any worse.

The next afternoon David was admitted to a hospital where a CT Scan revealed he had a tear in his colon that had healed over the past few days. Next up: a transfer to another hospital in the Memphis area.

Not really knowing where the infection was originating, doctors put David on antibiotics for five days. Still, nothing was solved and the swelling and pain only increased.

“I’m just laying here dying,” David recalled thinking at the time. It was time for a new plan of action.

David’s wife Connie sent an urgent text to their daughter Christa Holmes who has worked as a trauma ICU nurse in the Elvis Presley Trauma Center at Regional One Health for the last four years.

“When mom sent me a message telling me that daddy said he was laying there dying, it stopped me in my tracks. I knew I had to do something fast.”

Christa quickly reached out to Dr. Martin A. Croce, the medical director of the Elvis Presley Trauma Center at the Regional Medical Center. After hearing about her father and his symptoms, Croce was immediate in his plan of action. 

“Get your daddy over to me as soon as you can and I’ll wait for him,” Croce told Holmes. 

David was released from the other hospital and transferred by ambulance to Regional One, where Croce and a team of surgeons immediately went to work to analyze the situation. 

Exploratory surgery confirmed Dr. Croce’s initial diagnosis of a ruptured appendix and that David’s body cavity was awash with infection. After about a week of the appendix being ruptured his body was full of deadly toxins.

David was on a ventilator for five days. His body was so infected it was necessary to drill holes in his hips and insert tubes in order to drain the toxins. After 15 more days of hospitalization, he was free to go home and recover with his family thanks to the quick actions of the trauma team.

“We were treated like royalty,” Connie Casey said of her family’s experience in the Elvis Presley Trauma Center. “They rolled out the red carpet, took care of my husband’s needs as well as my needs. It was amazing. We would go back in a heartbeat because they know what they are doing.”

Christa said the “red carpet” service patients receive begins at the top. “As head of the Trauma Center, Dr. Croce runs a tight ship,” she said. “He is very humble and unique. I remember one night when we were really busy; he mopped the floor of a room himself to get a patient in quicker. He is my hero. I will never be able to thank him enough for saving my daddy’s life.”

You can help save lives like David’s by supporting the life saving work that takes place every day at Regional One Health.

Did you know facts?

Did you know that roughly 300,000 Americans die each year from ruptured appendixes?  


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