Seconds Matter During Woman’s Life-Threatening Allergic Reaction
Holly Starlin Patient Story

Seconds Matter During Woman’s Life-Threatening Allergic Reaction

    Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Close proximity to emergency department saves patient

Holly Starlin had just gotten home from an enjoyable dinner with friends one Saturday night during the summer when she started feeling sick. Holly thought the problem was the flu, so she laid down on the couch, hoping to feel better.

Instead of improving, Holly developed a rash all over and began itching severely. “I knew something wasn’t right; I started not being able to breathe,” Holly said. Holly’s husband, Dan, went to check on her. Holly’s mouth and tongue were swollen, her lips were blue, she couldn’t talk, and she was going in and out of consciousness. “I thought I was losing her. It was very scary,” Dan said.

Specially trained medical team responds quickly

Dan called 911 and tried to keep Holly awake. The local Emergency Medical Services arrived and transported his wife to the Genesis Perry County Medical Center (GPCMC) in Somerset. “The doctors and nurses at the Emergency Department were very compassionate and caring. They kept coming in to check on us and answered all of our questions,” Dan said. “The staff did a fantastic job, and I’m thankful the Genesis Emergency Department is here in Perry County.”

Robert Beight, D.O., is a board-certified emergency medicine physician at the GPCMC, and he is specially trained to immediately care for life-threatening illnesses like Holly’s. Holly had an allergic reaction with swelling in her airway. “In medical emergencies like her’s, minutes – and sometimes seconds – matter,” Dr. Beight said. “If patients with critical injuries had to be transported to another facility farther away, 10, 20 or 30 minutes … it could mean the difference between life and death. Holly’s life would have been endangered if she had to be transferred and she hadn’t received care in Somerset,” he said.

At the GPCMC doctors and nurses are specially trained to treat severe conditions such as heart attacks, trauma and stroke. “As a full-service ED, we have CT scans, X-rays and the medications needed to treat minute-dependent conditions, like tPA for strokes, available right here,” Dr. Beight said.

Around the clock care from specialists, critical care physicians

Holly received breathing treatments, was stabilized and transferred by the Genesis Mobile Intensive Care Unit to Genesis Hospital. “Holly came to the Genesis Critical Care Unit and was able to see a specialist within minutes,” said Fadi Safi, M.D., a pulmonary and critical care physician for Genesis HealthCare System. “That’s what differentiates Genesis from other hospitals around us. We’re able to provide highly specialized care comparable to university hospitals,” he said.

This seamless transition of care helps save lives. “At Genesis we can provide the best and timely care. We have specialists available around the clock to treat very sick patients,” said Dr. Safi. Holly received the appropriate treatment, the doctors made sure she was breathing normally, and she was able to go home within hours.

Providing this life-saving care in the community offers residents peace of mind. Holly is thankful the GPCMC is nearby. “The doctor and staff saved my life,” she said. “If the Emergency Department hadn’t been this close to home, I might not have made it."

Holly previously had an episode while on a field trip with her daughter in Washington, D.C., and the allergic reaction could hit again at any time. “It gives us peace of mind knowing the Emergency Department is nearby to care for Holly quickly if needed,” said Holly’s husband Dan.

Care is close to home for Perry County residents

The Genesis Perry County Medical Center has a 24/7 Emergency Department with doctors on-site at all times who are specially trained in emergency medicine. The experienced staff treat heart attacks, stroke and cases of trauma, and have the ability to provide a seamless transition to Genesis Hospital if needed.