Shaunda's Recovery Is Nothing Less Than A Miracle


Shaunda Clark, 31, had just returned home from traveling on Saturday, March 6, 2015. She wasn't feeling well and her doctor's office was closed, so she went to a nearby urgent care center. The doctor at the center could not find anything wrong with Shaunda, so he sent her home to rest.

Four days later, Shaunda was hospitalized and tests showed her heart was only working at 20 percent capacity. Within 24 hours, her respiratory system collapsed and she was intubated so she could breathe. She was transferred to Desert Springs Hospital and went into a coma.

Sanjay Malhotra, MD, Medical Director of Desert Springs Hospital's Cardiac Catheterization lab and Interventional Cardiologist, says that Shaunda's condition was grave. "After running many tests, we determined a viral infection caused her to go into cardiogenic shock. This is when the heart is in shock and does not pump. We knew time was of the essence, so we inserted the Impella® heart pump to help give her heart a rest," he says. "Sometimes a virus can trigger an autoimmune response that damages the body. Patients can recover if they can just rest the heart for a period of time."

After five days, the Impella pump was removed and Shaunda was breathing 20 percent on her own. She gradually regained her strength and in another five days, was breathing without the help of machines.

"Desert Springs Hospital is second to none! The doctors and nurses never gave up on me — and plenty of people would have," says Shaunda, who is married with two children. "They went the extra mile, especially the nurse who sat with me all night to make sure my breathing tube stayed in when I coughed. Even the housekeeper — she was so detailed that I had to call her boss and let her know what a phenomenal job she was doing. I was away from home and she wanted me to feel at home."

Shaunda had to work with therapists at the hospital to learn to walk and talk again. Her recovery went very well, and she returned back to work in April. She receives follow-up care every three months, which includes a heart ultrasound and blood work. Her recent tests indicate that her heart is now operating within normal parameters. Dr. Malhotra says that her recovery is nothing less than a miracle.

"I didn't appreciate my health before, but now I do," says Shaunda. "Thanks to the people at Desert Springs Hospital, I have a life to appreciate, and my children have their mother back."

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