The Doctors brings four incredible medical stories about the power of perseverance, unconditional love and the will to live.
“As an E.R. doctor, I witness little miracles all the time – people facing what seem like unbeatable odds, but they refuse to give up,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Arthur and his wife, Tammy, were ecstatic to discover they were going to have twin girls; however, after their daughters, Carly and Taryn, were born, they began to notice abnormal behavior in Carly.
“We knew something was off even before age 2,” Arthur says. “She hadn’t passed any of the milestones that her twin sister had. She didn’t speak; she didn’t really make any appropriate sounds.”
At age 2, Carly was officially diagnosed with a severe form of autism. The developmental disorder caused cognitive delays and a condition called oral motor apraxia, which would prevent her from ever speaking. When Carly was a child, the only way her parents could get her to communicate was through gestures and picture symbols.
“With Carly, it takes her a really long time to process things, because she sees and hears and smells and feels things at a much higher degree than the rest of us,” Arthur explains. “All of these senses pour in and overwhelm her.
“By 10 years old, we had lost hope that she would have any kind of meaningful means of communication.”
In addition to writing her own book, Carly’s Voice, detailing her experiences with autism, she is also an avid social media user. “Her voice has given her a calling in life, and that is to be an advocate, and to create change, and to motivate and move people,” Arthur says.
• Follow Carly on Facebook and Twitter!
In 2010, Shannon was a healthy, ambitious and energetic 28-year-old, working as a pharmacy technician and expecting her second child. On Dec. 5, 2010, complications from pneumonia sent her to the operating room to save both her life and the life of her unborn son. She had to undergo an emergency C-section, but her premature, one-pound baby did not survive.
Shannon then developed a severe case of sepsis, a life-threatening bacterial infection where blood toxicity causes organ failure and death. She began hemorrhaging blood and soon flat-lined. Fortunately, doctors were able to resuscitate her, but she then slipped into a coma, and was only given a five percent chance at survival. While comatose, Shannon’s blood was not circulating properly, causing her extremities to develop necrosis, or tissue death.
Three weeks after being on life support, Shannon suddenly woke up from her coma. “My body was shutting down. I had liver and kidney failure [and] I was on 24-hour dialysis,” Shannon says. “The necrosis was moving up my legs [and] the doctors told me that they were going to have to amputate both arms and legs.”
“I’ve had to have 17 surgeries – procedures, skin grafts, revisions and [medical] instruments put in,” she says.”
Music and Memory
“For so many of us, certain songs can trigger very strong memories [and] take us back to a specific moment in time,” Dr. Travis says. For those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, this phenomenon has a very special importance.”
The documentary Alive Inside explores how personalized music can trigger memories and emotions, which help enhance the cognitive and social skills of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Recreational therapist Yvonne Russell was featured in the documentary, along with Henry, one of her patients, who suffers from severe dementia.
Geriatrician Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, explains what happens to the brain when affected by dementia. Plus, Dr. Travis explains how the brain processes music.