Experimental brain surgery goes bad, now no doctor can help woman

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by Christine LaCroix / AZFamily.com

khou.com

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM

PHOENIX, Arizona -- In a single-patient room at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, 20-year-old Carissa Galvez shakes and writhes constantly as her body is wracked with intense pain.

“It hurts really bad. I just want five minutes of relief,” said Carissa.
Two weeks ago, Carissa was a fun loving student studying to be a nurse. That all changed when she started to feel sick.
“She started vomiting a lot. She was getting a bad headache. Her blood pressure was high,” said Carissa’s mom, Daniella Galvez.
Carissa has a random genetic mutation that impacts her cerebral spinal fluid. Five years ago a pediatric neurosurgeon placed an experimental two-valve shunt into her head and back to help drain the fluid.
Carissa had been living a normal healthy life until two weeks ago, when something started to go wrong with the shunt. When she went to Banner Good Samaritan, she was devastated to learn no one could help her.
“I just really want someone to fix it,” she said.
The hospital where Carissa got the shunt can no longer help her because she is now an adult.
The doctor who performed the experimental surgery has since retired and no one can get in touch with him.
So far, no doctors in Arizona have been able to help Carissa because of the experimental nature of the shunt.
“We basically have hit a roadblock, because it’s an experimental shunt,” said Daniella. “No other neurosurgeon here has dealt with this kind of shunt. They’re not familiar with it.”
The neurosurgical team at Banner Good Samaritan is unable to remove the shunt. Hospital representatives have reached out to other hospitals in Arizona, with no luck. They released this statement to 3TV:
“We are doing all we can to provide the best possible care for our patient Carissa, and her family, while we work to resolve this very difficult situation.“
For now, Carissa has to stay in pain at the hospital, as her condition grows worse.
“It’s horrible. I can’t explain it,” said Daniella, “To watch her shaking and know it’s because she’s in pain…it’s nothing anybody would want to watch their child go through.”

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