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Michelle Kellem

Michelle Kellem

Headshot of a smiling, happy Michelle Kellem

2:36 a.m. on July 12, 2011 is a time and date Michelle and Erik Kellem will always remember. Erik, Michelle and the children, a 4-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy, are asleep. Erik suddenly wakes, he has a sense something was wrong. His wife of seven years, Michelle, lies next to him. Erik takes a closer look at Michelle and wonders, “Why are her eyes wide open?” “Instantly I knew something was not right,” Erik would later say. “She wasn’t breathing.”

Upon Michelle’s arrival to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, doctors and nurses induce a hypothermic coma, which sounds both scientific and frightening; in reality, it’s an effective medical procedure that simply involves a cooling vest. After suffering a cardiac arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), she is treated with hydrotherapy to prevent brain or organ damage after a heart attack. The doctors and nurses apply the tactic with expert care, slowing the internal processes of Michelle’s body by cooling her to between 89 and 93 degrees.

“They thought I needed a transplant,” Michelle recalls. Michelle’s heart was dangerously weak that a transplant was likely her only hope.

Next, doctors had to make the critical decision for her course of treatment, and they determined Michelle was a perfect candidate for the Impella Pump. The treatment team at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center knows that the Impella pump will buy time by decreasing stress, improving blood flow, and performing the heart’s own work. The Impella Pump is a very tiny “heart pump.”

Michelle was rushed to the right hospital; Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center is one of only two in the county that uses the Impella pump. “The Impella heart pump was critical in keeping her alive,” says Erik. “Without that, she wouldn’t have made it through the day on July 13th. And for the doctors, I can’t thank them enough.”

To Michelle, life is precious, and a gift that she was given by the team at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped and worked on me. It means the world to me, and I’m so happy to be able to hold my kids again.”

This testimonial reflects results achieved by this patient. Each case must be independently evaluated and managed.

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