PATIENT STORY

A Second Chance at Care – John’s Story

After transferring to Englewood Health from another hospital, patient John Rivera says the improvement in his care could be felt the moment he walked through the door

In his 66 years, John Rivera had never undergone a surgical procedure. However, he and fellow members of his congregation know their wishes will be honored at the Institute for Patient Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at Englewood Health.

“It’s well known in our community that Englewood Hospital provides excellent care,” says John, who works in customer relations for Audi. “The doctors are very skilled and respectful of our beliefs.”

John’s experience at Englewood Health, however, began at a different facility 35 miles away near his hometown of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In December 2018, John experienced abdominal pain. He underwent a colonoscopy to find the cause, and his gastroenterologist found a foreign object—a piece of bone—in his colon.

“We speculate it was something the patient swallowed,” says Fred Wolodiger, MD, the general surgeon who would eventually take care of John at Englewood Health. “In most cases, an object like a bone will usually pass on its own.”

That was not the case for John, however, as parts of his colon became inflamed. Besides John’s abdominal pain, he felt fine, but his doctors at the other facility told him he would require immediate surgery.

“They were telling me, ‘Hurry up, let’s get the surgery done,’” John says. “That wasn’t the reason I was there. That wasn’t what I wanted.”

What John wanted, he told his providers, was a second opinion—specifically, the opinion of doctors with The Bloodless Institute at Englewood Hospital.

Compassionate Care

When John came to Englewood, his colon remained inflamed, which Dr. Wolodiger believes was possibly due to the care he received at the previous facility.

“They tried to remove the piece of bone by pulling on it, which may have caused more irritation,” Dr. Wolodiger says. “Between that and their recommendation for immediate surgery, John really lost faith in their care.”

Dr. Wolodiger and his team told John they would wait a month to give the bone time to pass naturally and also to allow the inflammation to subside. When a month passed—but the bone did not—John was scheduled for laparoscopic surgery on April 3. Dr. Wolodiger removed John’s sigmoid colon and the piece of bone inside. After his surgery, John says he is thankful every day for the care he received at Englewood Health. “This was the first time I had surgery, and I’m grateful it was such a positive experience,” he says. “I’m so thankful for the excellent work they did.”


Originally published in CHOICES, Issue 2, 2019

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