Thrive by IU Health

April 28, 2022

Hospital worker experiences aneurysm at work: “Divine alignment”

IU Health Methodist Hospital

Hospital worker experiences aneurysm at work: “Divine alignment”

She was in good health, so when the elevator stopped on the second floor of Methodist Hospital and Carol Edmonds didn’t feel right she headed straight for her co-worker’s office. It may have saved her life.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

It was 37 years ago this month that Carol Edmonds joined IU Health. A single parent, she was looking for a second job to provide for her family. She began working in dietary and after 20 years, she saw an opportunity to advance in the healthcare field.

She took a six-month course to become a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST), and moved to the second floor of IU Health Methodist Hospital. In her role she orders a wide variety of surgical supplies - including biological tests, non-implants and implantable plates and screws; and checks inventory daily to ensure all team members and surgeons have necessary supplies in the operating rooms. Each item – even the smallest screw - is received, sorted, checked in, organized and stored safely.

“I like the fact that I’m ordering things that are used for the patients and the wellbeing of the patients. It’s important that I have exactly everything that is needed for the patient,” said Edmonds, who grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Arsenal Technical High School.

She learned first hand the importance of patient care on May 6, 2019. The very set that she trained someone to assemble – for patients who experience aneurysms – was used to help save her life. The aneurysm set includes clips that stop the blood flow caused by the aneurysm – a life-threatening brain bleed.

Edmonds credits the quick response by her work team with helping save her life.

As she talks in the lobby of IU Health Methodist Hospital she relives that terrifying day. She entered the Senate Street entrance three years ago, like any other workday. She felt fine and had been on the job for three hours when she pushed her medical supply cart to the elevator.

It all happened unexpectedly and quickly.

“I know my body. It wasn’t painful but I didn’t feel well and my neck got stiff,” said Edmonds, 58. She made her way to the office of her supervisor, Christine “Chris” Hoovler. The minute Edmonds said that she didn’t feel well and her neck hurt, Hoovler sat Edmonds down and ran to get a wheelchair. Another co-worker, Mia Harrington, came to sit with Edmonds.

“I was nervous. She was not responsive when I came back with the wheelchair. She gave us quite a scare and we’re blessed that she’s here,” said Hoovler.

From there, things were somewhat a blur for Edmonds. She remembers feeling a “pop” on the left side of her head and the next thing she knew she was in the ER.

“I am so thankful for Chris and the speed that she reacted,” said Edmonds. Her brother, Gregory Edmonds, also works in sterile processing at Methodist Hospital. He met them in ER.

“When the doctor rolled his chair up and told me I had an aneurysm I wanted to cry. I left that room. I was in a massive white space and I knew I was no longer on this earth,” said Edmonds. She begins to cry as she remembers every second and every individual who kept her alive. “I saw myself in a hand that was holding me up. It was the hand of God and I realized I was going to be OK. It was God’s divine alignment that kept me alive – all the right things and people at the right time.”

In the care of IU Health’s Dr. Aaron Cohen, she underwent surgery and remained in in ICU for 18 days. After her discharge, she spent another 10 days in rehabilitation and remained under watch for the next six months.

“I tell you the care I received during those 18 days was amazing. My room was outside the nurses station and I never worried about getting the care and attention I needed,” said Edmonds. She kept a bowl of snacks in her room as a “thank you” to her healthcare team.

Edmonds’ challenges weren’t over. Nearly a year after her aneurysm, she contracted COVID and was away from work for more than a month. She again credited team members for helping her get back on track. Her manager, Allyson Goodrich, encouraged her to schedule a virtual health visit and Jon Sellers helped her refresh her computer skills when she returned to work.

Her coworkers say they are blessed that Edmonds regained her health.

“She is a ray of sunshine through all of her trials and tribulations and her success has pushed us to be more successful,” said co-worker, Lamont Harvey. When Harvey, an anesthesia technician, began assembling a perioperative mentor program Edmonds was one of the first people he thought of.

“Carol demonstrates every inch of the IU Health values and is someone who can teach and encourage others,” said Harvey.

In the past three years, Edmonds has resumed her typical work schedule and feels back to normal.

She enjoys spending time with her two adult children, and six grandchildren, serving on the hospitality ministry of her church – Kingdom Apostolic Ministries – reading inspirational stories, listening to uplifting podcasts, and shopping and decorating for friends and family members.

“I can’t stress enough that this was all about divine alignment. That’s why I’m here today.”

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