Two weeks after giving birth to her second son, Elizabeth Frattasio started feeling flu-like symptoms. She asked her husband Seth to drive her to South Shore Hospital because “it was the closest hospital.” She thought she would be treated and go home within a day or two, in time for a special Valentine’s Day dinner with Seth.
However, Elizabeth’s situation was dire. She had contracted a powerful pneumococcal pneumonia that left her in a coma for 42 days. Her lungs collapsed. Her kidneys failed. She was in septic shock and on the edge of death.
“It was like being run over by a bus,” she said.
Her determination to care for her boys – and outstanding care at South Shore Hospital – saved her life. Elizabeth was intubated and had a tracheotomy performed to allow air into her lungs. After weeks in a coma, she awoke. “It was really foggy,” she said, “but I remember feeling this joy and seeing the joy in my family and the staff.”
With muscles that had badly atrophied, Elizabeth needed weeks of rehabilitation to learn how to walk again. As time passed, she returned to health. Now, several years later, she still has a hard time believing everything that happened. She is so grateful to her caregivers, including ICU physicians Dr. Jon Pehrson and Dr. Elamana Vijayakumar.
“My life was completely in their hands,” she said. “They saved me and my two boys as well.” South Shore Hospital went from being “the closest hospital,” to a place Elizabeth and Seth now support with donations.
She still brings a Valentine’s Day dinner to the 6th floor ICU staff each year. “This was such a miraculous experience,” she said. “We have a special resource here and I want to spread the word.”