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Katie Kovar

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 31, 2020


Katie’s Story…

I was only 27 years old when I had to undergo outpatient surgery for a lower spine issue. I was going in to have a laminectomy and discectomy on my L4/L5 vertebrae. My neurosurgeon did an amazing job with the surgery and when it was time to come out of surgery, I experienced what I now know as an MH episode. Thanks to the wonderful anesthesiologist, they immediately recognized what was happening and took the appropriate actions to save my life. While they were rushing around getting ice and the appropriate medications to combat the episode, all I could feel was my body getting hotter and hotter by the second. It felt like my brain was melting. I could hear and feel everything being done to me, but I could not move, open my eyes or communicate in any way. My temperature got so high, even after they put ice everywhere and called my family back to say goodbye, I was already running towards the white light. When I heard the anesthesiologist say I was not going to make it, I was done, I could not live like that.  I ran as fast as I could toward the white light, the gates of Heaven, because I could not take the sheer pain and heating of my body because the ice kept melting as fast as they could put it on. They brought my family back to say goodbye, but my Dad was not ready, he did not accept what they were telling him. He kept screaming my name over and over (even when my mother told him to be quiet) until I heard him and decided I needed to turn around from that white light and see if I could fight this, because my Dad is the best and I didn’t want to let him down. While I still could not move, talk or communicate in any way, I knew everything that was happening to me as they prepped me to be rushed to the main hospital downtown where I spent a week in critical care and baffled the doctors and nurses until they came to the same conclusion the anesthesiologist did. I had gone through an MH episode and if it were not for the anesthesiologist at the outpatient center who knew what was happening, I would not be here today.

I have since gone on to have a lower back fusion the following year with the same neurosurgeon, this time at the downtown hospital and everyone was aware that I have MH. I have also had two spinal blocks with the same neurosurgeon with only local anesthetic because we never want to relive that nightmare again. It was the single worst time of my life and any time I must give my medical history; the doctors are astounded because it is so rare, or they haven’t heard of it.  More training and awareness need to be provided for all medical care staff across the board so they can save another life. I wear a medic alert bracelet now every single day no matter where I go signifying that I have MH because if I can’t talk for myself, someone needs to know how severe of a reaction I have to anesthesia.

Thanks to that amazing anesthesiologist, I am still around today. I even had a hip joint injection last week with the same neurosurgeon (he has become my one and only-my favorite) and later this week, my husband and I will be accepting three foster kiddos into our home to share our love with. All because this anesthesiologist knew what he was doing. I could not be more thankful.


As told by Katie Kovar

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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