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Doctors overcome obstacles to save patient’s life

Bolingbrook, IL – Removing a cancerous tumor from a patient who refused a blood transfusion on religious grounds could have been fatal if not for the methodical work and cooperation of a dedicated team of physicians at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital.

Glenease Stinson, a 75-year-old Bolingbrook resident, was admitted to the hospital June 3 for surgery to remove a malignant kidney tumor. A devout Jehovah’s Witness, Stinson told Dr. Avtar Dhindsa she could not receive a transfusion of blood from a donor because it is prohibited by her religious beliefs. Patients who undergo this surgery typically require transfusions because of the amount of blood lost. Refusing the surgery likely would have been fatal.

Dr. Luke Sewall, an interventional radiologist, performed an alcohol ablation prior to the surgery to lessen the amount of blood lost during the surgery. This novel technique blocks off not only the main blood supply to the kidney but also all of the smaller vessels in the kidney and the nerves to the kidney. It also made Stinson’s procedure much less painful.

Dr. Michael Tuchek, a cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon, assisted Dhindsa, a urologist, during the surgery. With years of experience operating on Jehovah’s Witnesses, Tuchek was there to ensure no catastrophic bleeding would take place.

A cell saver was on hand to collect, store, and purify Stinson’s own blood for transfusion, which would not violate Stinson’s religious beliefs. In the end, Stinson lost just 60cc of blood – about two fluid ounces, a remarkably small amount for such a high-risk surgery.

“Usually these are very risky procedures that can sometimes require a blood transfusion,” Dhindsa said. “We took all the necessary precautions, which resulted in a blood loss of just 60cc. If she lost too much blood, it would have been life threatening.”

Although the hospital has been open just six months, it is already offering world-class care centered on the needs of each individual patient, noted Rick Mace, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

“Our priority is patient care, and this case in particular demonstrates our commitment to respecting our patients’ wishes without compromising their safety,” Mace said.

Stinson, an active senior who works in the security department of a Bolingbrook store, praised Dhindsa for putting her at ease before her surgery.

“Dr. Dhindsa made me feel safe,” Stinson said. “I told him, ‘I trust my god, Jehovah, and I trust you.’ Nobody wants to be in the hospital and have surgery, but if I had to go back, I would if Dr. Dhindsa could be my surgeon.”

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.