Team effort helps Monroe City woman overcome overwhelming obstacles


In January of 2023 Angela Brown from Monroe City, MO had recently returned home from an inpatient rehab stay at a hospital in Columbia, MO where she was recovering from sepsis, but was still struggling to stay healthy. Despite several hospitalizations at different facilities, her body continued to collect fluid. After Angela was released from Hannibal Regional Hospital in late January, Ashley Hays, BSN, RN, Care Manager for Monroe City patients, made a follow-up call to see how things were going and how she could assist Angela with her care. Little did Angela know this would be a catalyst moment in her recovery and quality of life.

Angela's health struggles made it difficult for her to get out of bed or walk on her own. This led her to eventually weigh over 560 lbs and be completely bedbound.  Angela’s primary care provider, Dr. Adam Samaritoni, wanted her to consult with Dr. Ma’en Al-Dabbas, a cardiologist at Hannibal Regional Medical Group. This worried Angela because she was physically unable to get herself out of the house for the appointment and transportation was another issue. “She told me that she was planning to cancel the appointment because of her lack of mobility,” says Ashley. Knowing that this appointment could be critical to Angela’s recovery, Ashley and Dr. Samaritoni acted quickly to create a plan.

Ashley reached out to Laurie Jansen, BSN, RN, CCM Care Manager for Cardiology and Pulmonology, to see if it would be possible for Dr. Al-Dabbas to perform the appointment via telehealth. Dr. Al-Dabbas agreed to proceed with a telehealth visit as it was the only way to treat Angela. Care Managers Ashley and Laurie worked together to get a portable EKG machine to Angela’s home so that Dr. Al-Dabbas would have the necessary data he needed at the time of her virtual visit. The appointment was a success and Angela started to realize that with this team of support, she might have a chance at a successful recovery. “I was facing so many obstacles that it was demoralizing, but their dedication gave me hope,” Angela recalls.

Next, Angela began working with Hannibal Regional Hospital’s Home Health Physical Therapist Tom Rodeghero and Physical Therapist Assistant Andrea Ridout. Angela admitted, “Thinking about the end goal of physically getting to the doctor’s office on my own felt overwhelming, but Tom and Andrea helped me to understand that it was going to take baby steps to get there.” They started with small goals of building strength. “Each time we would set a goal for her she would meet them, sometimes even before we expected her to,” Andrea described.  

“It really was a team effort,” explains Care Manager Ashley. “Even John, Angela’s husband, was a huge help. She says that whenever there was an obstacle John was quick to figure out a solution. “For example, we needed a way to weigh Angela, so John rigged a scale to the Hoyer lift used to get Angela out of bed.” Andrea states, “He was the ‘MacGyver’ of the team!”

“I had a lot of fears about taking my first step, I didn’t know if my legs would hold me up,” Angela explained, “but Andrea and Tom helped me understand the mechanics of my body and the proper ways to use it. With their help and encouragement, I gained confidence that I could do it.” Just a few short months after she had begun her journey, the moment finally happened. “I knew I was ready, but I had to wait for Andrea to be there. I wanted her to see me take that first step,” Angela said. It was a proud moment for both of them, and for Angela it motivated her more than ever before. “Once she took that first step, she was off, there was no stopping her!” exclaimed Andrea.

On August 25, 2023, eight months after Angela wanted to cancel her first cardiology appointment, she accomplished her goal of being able to walk into Hannibal Regional Medical Group for her first in-office appointment with Dr. Al-Dabbas. This was the first time Angela could attend an in-office visit in almost three years. Angela has lost over 200 pounds as a result of a medication change that helped reduce her fluid retention, making her more mobile and now she is making healthier food choices and staying active. “Their encouragement helped motivate me to learn more, I was always asking questions and they were all so helpful. I’m healthier now than I was before battling sepsis. I couldn’t have done this without this amazing team,” Angela says.

If you think you would benefit from the Hannibal Regional Care Management or Home Health Services, please speak to your primary care doctor for a referral. For more information about these services call 573-629-3500.