A Long Island grandmother of 11 is being called a “walking miracle” for beating the odds and nearly losing her life due to COVID-19 and pancreatitis.
Alisa White, 61, of Wyandanch, was admitted to South Shore University Hospital with severe pancreatitis in January, after surviving a prolonged hospital stay with COVID-19.
She was transferred to Huntington Hospital on Jan.6 and underwent a cyst-gastrotomy, in which an endoscope is used to clean out an infection that formed in the pancreas.
“A cyst-gastrostomy is a procedure where we perform an endoscopy to drain the infection internally without using traditional open surgery or cutting from the outside,” said Demetrios Tzimas, MD, director of advanced endoscopy. “During this procedure we use an endoscope with an ultrasound probe that is placed through the mouth and into the stomach, and then locate and treat the infected pancreas by draining it internally.”
Doctors said the pancreatitis was a direct result of complications from COVID.
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is inflammation in the pancreas. The pancreas is a long, flat gland that sits tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The pancreas produces enzymes that help digestion and hormones that help regulate the way your body processes sugar (glucose).
Pancreatitis can occur as acute pancreatitis — meaning it appears suddenly and lasts for days. Or pancreatitis can occur as chronic pancreatitis, which is pancreatitis that occurs over many years.
Severe cases of the disease, like the kind White had, can cause life-threatening complications.
When to see a doctor?
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent abdominal pain. Seek immediate medical help if your abdominal pain is so severe that you can’t sit still or find a position that makes you more comfortable.
White was placed in a medically induced coma and had a procedure called a cyst-gastrotomy where an endoscope is used to clean out an infection that formed.
Since then, White has had seven follow-up endoscopic surgeries to treat the infection. Because of the severity of the pancreatitis, Ms. White had less than a 50 percent chance of survival.
Her doctors say she is a walking miracle.
Now that most of her mobility is restored, White is most looking forward to