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Feature Article Samaritan Helps Albany Man Resume Normalcy After A Rare Illness

Bacterial meningitis can be a deadly infection if not diagnosed and treated quickly. Judd Everts of Albany became critically ill with bacterial meningitis in 2015, but thanks to comprehensive care from Samaritan in Albany and Corvallis, he’s back home with his family.

He and his wife Linnea are especially grateful that they didn’t have to leave the mid-valley for treatment. “I was able to have brain surgery 10 miles from home,” said Judd, 35.

His story began last March when one afternoon he felt ill at work.

“I was overwhelmed by the brightness outside. I took an Advil and drank some water, but it didn’t work, so I went home. Then I developed severe body chills,” said Judd.

Judd also developed a severe headache. That night, he became completely unresponsive, so Linnea called 9-1-1.

The ambulance took Judd to the Emergency Department at Samaritan Albany General Hospital.

“The doctors were gravely concerned; they weren’t sure what was going on with him,” Linnea recalled.

Jeremy Bedtelyon, MD, the lead hospitalist, performed a lumbar puncture and, concerned about bacterial meningitis, started Judd on several IV antibiotics as a precaution. Linnea thinks that might have saved his life, because Judd’s diagnosis ultimately was bacterial meningitis, which can often be deadly.

“Judd got exceptional care, very quickly, in the Emergency Department,” Linnea said. “They didn’t just treat it like he was dehydrated or anything. They were really concerned.”

After nearly a week in the hospital, doctors were concerned that Judd’s headaches and ventricles weren’t getting any better. Testing revealed hydrocephalus, a fluid buildup in the ventricle spaces, which would require a surgical draining procedure.

Neurosurgeon Stephen McGirr, MD, performed the procedure immediately. Afterward, Judd needed several weeks of antibiotic infusions back at Samaritan Albany General Hospital.

Today, Judd is back at work as a heating and air conditioning technician at Linn-Benton Community College. His memory and stamina aren’t what they were before his illness, but his light sensitivity is better and he’s exercising more regularly.

“I wear sunglasses a lot more now, and I have a system to remember things, but I’m thankful for every day,” he said.

And they can’t say enough about the care Judd received from Samaritan. Linnea also gives credit to Albany hospitalist Abby Kennedy, MD, who managed Judd’s care in the hospital, and Samaritan Home Health for their help once Judd was back home.

“We’re so fortunate Judd was able to get his care at home,” Linnea said.