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Feature Article Emergency Gall Bladder Surgery Affirms DNA Test Results

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Four years ago, Shari Sands had a 23andMe DNA test done which reported she was at high risk for gallbladder disease in comparison to the rest of the population.

“I thought it was bunk at the time since no one in my family had a history of it,” said Sands. “But now, it has me thinking!”

Last fall, Sands woke to extreme abdominal pain in the middle of the night. She started vomiting and couldn’t lie down. Three hours later, her son drove her to the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center Emergency Department.

“The ER didn’t mess around,” Sands said. “After ruling out pancreatitis and an ulcer, and performing a painful ultrasound on my gallbladder, they knew that was it. I was on heavy pain medications, but it hurt so bad I couldn’t even lay down on the gurney,” said Sands.

By 10 a.m., Sands was in surgery where Nathan Smith, DO, general surgery, and his surgery team operated through dense scar tissue to remove a very inflamed gallbladder and gallstones.

Now, instead of having the gallbladder store and control the bile coming from the liver into the small intestine, the bile will go directly into the intestine where its main role is to help digest fats.

“The doctor said my gallbladder had no bile in it and had not been working for some time. It was really inflamed,” said Sands.

The day after surgery, Sands went home. “I still had a few aches and pains, but my systems are working better now than ever before.”

Sands is thankful for her emergency care, but hopes this is the last visit she’ll be making to the ED. A month before her gallbladder surgery, Shari was hospitalized four days for a blood infection resulting from a cat bite.