Fred Neurohr, of Northside, had been experiencing abdominal pain for several months, but as an active father, husband, team member and volunteer, he attributed it to the typical stresses of life’s daily grind. Then, “My wife’s mother died suddenly around Thanksgiving," he explains. "So I just sort of wrote it off to major life stresses and just general bugs the kids were bringing home.”
The pain was bearable until March 5 – the day he was rushed to the emergency department at Bethesda North Hospital .
An Unexpected Start: "Something Was Wrong"
Fred got up that morning after waking up in the middle of the night with the chills. While he was getting dressed to attend a conference his company was hosting, he noticed sharp pain in the right side of abdomen, but still decided to head into work. “I thought it would be a pretty light day, but it occurred to me during the opening remarks, when I sat down at the first workgroup, that something was wrong.”
Almost immediately, he stood to make his way toward the back of the convention center; the pain became insufferable. He stumbled toward a couch and told a concerned co-worker he thought he was having a problem with his appendix.
“When I was trying to call 911, I couldn’t even use my phone,” he explains. From there, a co-worker dialed 911. Minutes later, he was strapped to a stretcher and placed in an ambulance.
Doctors diagnosed Fred with diverticulitis, a condition that occurs when small, bulging sacs of the inner lining of the intestine become inflamed or infected. He had a tear in his large intestine that caused a major infection.
He was put on fluids and antibiotics for 48 hours and stayed in the hospital another two days for observation. Fortunately, the diverticulitis had healed relatively well on its own, allowing him to avoid emergency surgery.
During his stay at Bethesda North, Fred was blown away by the care he received from every staff member he encountered.
In fact, he was so impressed that he nominated his nurse, Lindy, for the “Thank a Caregiver” sweepstakes TriHealth ran shortly after he was released. “It is evidence to me that the health system was successful in building some sort of culture of 'patient first,'” he points out. “I felt very much at the center of really good service and really good treatment at all times.”
Before Fred was released, doctors instructed him to rest for a few weeks before returning to work. He also came back to Bethesda North for a colonoscopy about two months later. Dr. Gennaro LaBella MD, of the TriHealth Surgical Institute, performed his colonoscopy.
After a discussion with Kevin Tymitz MD, another surgeon with TriHealth Surgical Institute, Fred decided to schedule a laparoscopic procedure to prevent the tear and infection from happening again. "They make a couple of small incisions to remove the part of my colon that stopped funtioning – or not functioning well," Fred points out. "He [Dr. Tymitz] was really good about explaining my options."
Now, Fred is looking forward to being healthy and pain-free after surgery, which he scheduled for mid-June.
He also serves on the board of directors for the Cincinnati nonprofit Elementz, a youth center that uses a family like environment and urban arts to assist young people with personal and artistic development. He’s excited to dive back in head-first – once he’s back to his old self. “I get so much more out of this than those guys do. I get a sense of belonging,” he says. “I spent so much of my life trying to get by that I never really got a chance to live, so I take every chance I get.”