Allina Health physicians save local woman’s life

When a diagnosis isn’t immediately clear, it often requires a team of medical experts to work together and care for a patient to determine appropriate treatment. Fortunately, that collaboration between physicians and staff at Cambridge Medical Center helped save Keri McLaughlin’s life. Read McLaughlin’s story.

Keri and her medical team.

“I had a persistent headache with pain that worsened over the weekend. I knew I needed to see my doctor as soon as possible,” said Keri McLaughlin. “I was relieved that my provider, Dr. Amy Haupert, had an opening in her schedule right away Monday morning. I was very ill, and I was having trouble with my vision. It was scary.”

At her exam, Dr. Haupert, a family medicine physician, was concerned about McLaughlin’s symptoms and recommended that she see an ophthalmologist. Haupert immediately reached out to Sam Villella, OD, at the Allina Health Cambridge Clinic, who examined McLaughlin right away. He determined that she would benefit from seeing a neurologist, so he went across the hallway to consult with Jane Achenbach, MD.

“Dr. Achenbach had a full schedule that day, but she saw me over the lunch hour and asked the imaging team to conduct a scan right away,” said McLaughlin. “They found a bleeding aneurysm in my brain, behind my eye and transported me to Abbott Northwestern Hospital for emergency surgery to treat it.”

Achenbach stayed with McLaughlin’s husband and talked about next steps before he traveled to Abbott Northwestern to be with his wife. Meanwhile, McLaughlin was rushed to Josser Delgado, MD, an interventional neuroradiologist specializing in brain aneurysms. 

“At Abbott Northwestern, Dr. Delgado took time to answer all of my family’s questions and explained everything so carefully about the procedure and what to expect afterwards. I was impressed because it was the evening and this was happening later than most scheduled surgeries, but Dr. Delgado was not rushed,” McLaughlin explained.

“In 12 hours the doctors at Cambridge Medical Center and Abbott Northwestern determined what was wrong, fixed it and saved my life,” McLaughlin said. “When I went back to thank everyone, I told them I had prayed to God that I could get to my appointment that day and that he would surround me with people who could care for me. And my prayer was answered.”

McLaughlin had a long recovery and spent several months recovering while she visited Allina Health’s Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus and the Blaine Clinic to see specialists and receive therapy to help restore eye function and vision.

“I am so grateful for the close coordination of all the experts who were involved in my care that day and that they worked together to fit me in right away,” McLaughlin said. “If I had been told that I had to ‘get on the schedule,’ I don’t think I’d be here today. To me, it speaks to the compassion that all of my doctors have. They weren’t just following protocol or process, but they rearranged their day to make sure I got the care I needed.”