A breath of fresh air

Smoker seeks treatment for COPD and emphysema

Sandra Bogatin, ER Patient, St. Mary's Medical Center

Our-Stories-SandraLike many daughters, Patrice often finds herself worrying about her 86-year old mother's health. Sandra Bogatin, a habitual smoker for over 70 years, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. Both diseases make it progressively harder for Sandra to breathe as she ages. After receiving the two diagnoses, however, she continued to smoke, and her condition worsened.

"My mother told me that her breathing issues had gotten so bad that she was having trouble sleeping at night," recalls Patrice. "She wanted me to take her to the hospital."

Patrice picked her mom up and brought her to the emergency room at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Sandra was admitted to the hospital and was under the care of Dr. Sheela Shah and Dr. Azucena P. Jumapao, both internists on the St. Mary's medical staff.

"The physicians were very knowledgeable about my mother's conditions and seemed genuinely concerned for her well-being," Patrice says. "She was in the hospital for three nights, so I was able to meet just about everyone caring for her. All of the nurses were attentive, engaging, positive and kind."

The care that Sandra received gave Patrice peace of mind that her mother was in good hands.

As there is no cure for COPD and emphysema, the doctors, nurses and staff monitored Sandra's breathing and oxygen levels to ensure they were under control before she was discharged from the hospital.

"They sent her home with an oxygen tank to help with her breathing, and even gave her nicotine patches to help her quit smoking," Patrice recalls. "The doctors recommended she undergo occupational and physical therapy, and also suggested having a healthcare nurse come to her home."

Today, Sandra is cigarette-free for the first time in her adult life. Although she still suffers from the effects of her conditions, her quality of life has increased considerably following her visit to St. Mary's.

"She has been able to get out of the house more often and engage in some of her favorite hobbies, such as shopping at the Green Market and attending shows at the Kravis Center," Patrice says. "If it weren't for the doctors and staff at St. Mary's who helped my mother get her health under control, she would still be smoking, unable to sleep at night and rapidly deteriorating. The care and guidance she received at St. Mary's truly gave my mom her life back!"