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Rita Osborne-Smith

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Rita’s Story—

My story begins back in 1970 when I was just 7 years old in a small town in Colorado. I had to have my tonsils surgically removed. I do not remember much about the procedure. I only remember that after the surgery was done, the doctors told my birth mother that there was something wrong with me, but they didn’t know what. Years later, in November 1981, I went into labor with my first child. After 19 hours of hard labor, I was not progressing. The doctors were getting concerned because my body temperature was elevated and my heart was beating way too fast.  A cesarean section was performed. During this operation, I died on the table. I can remember my heart feeling like it was going to pound out of my chest and then it felt like my body was on fire. The next thing I remember was waking up and being hooked to many different monitors. I also remember that there were two very large glass gallon bottles with clear brown liquid that were being pumped into my IV. That is when I learned that I had a malignant hyperthermia episode. My doctor did not inform me that MH was inherited and that my children could be affected.

In 1984, when my second child was born, I was lucky enough to have had the same doctor. He was right there every step of the way. He didn’t want me to go into labor on my own as he felt the stress of child birth could trigger another MH episode. However, my daughter was not going to wait. I went into labor and went to the hospital. The doctors had to immediately stop the labor. They were able to get my body temperature down and my heart rate back to normal. It took a bit for my doctor to arrive but once he did, everything went smoothly.

In 1996, I was experiencing some issues and had to go to the hospital. My doctor happened to be on call at the hospital and sent me for an X-Ray. My gallbladder had to be removed. I told another doctor, who was also on call, that I had MH. He didn’t seem to believe me. My doctor came into the room and told the other doctor that he diagnosed me himself and I tested positive in Canada after my first child was born. The gallbladder surgery went great; the knowledge that my doctor had saved my life. I am just so thankful to be alive. I now live with the many risks associated with being MH susceptible. 

As written by Rita Osborne-Smith

Views and opinions expressed on this page are only those of the individual telling their story. MHAUS has not clinically vetted the content. 


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