for Excellence by a Veterinarian in the Treatment of
Canine Autoimmune/Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia
The winner of the 2006 Meisha’s Hope Award is Dr. Darcy Adams. Dr. Adams works out of the Fountain City Veterinary Hospital in Bryan, OH and was nominated for the Meisha’s Hope Award by Judy & Bob Hartman. Dr. Adams is pictured below with the Hartman's. Their nomination of Dr. Adams for the Meisha's Hope Award is reproduced in its entirety below the photos.
Dr. Darcy Adams with Judy & Bob Hartman displaying a photo of their dog, Daisy.
Dr. Darcy Adams and Judy Hartman displaying the Meisha's Hope Award.
”It is with a heavy heart I write this letter, for I know not where to begin or end the story of Daisy. I will attempt to honor the vet, who unselfishly gave of herself over a holiday weekend, so that one small dog might have a chance. I feel I will not do justice to the plight of Dr. Darcy Adams in the fight for Daisy’s life, for those six days from beginning of the illness to the end are just a blur….
"Saturday, September 2, 2006: Daisy came down with something last night, which took control of her. She had a normal, busy day, then after supper, she began vomiting and having chills. By bedtime, she was swallowing hard and fighting nausea. She drank a little water in the night, and had a staggered, weak gate. We realized she needed to be seen by the vet first thing in the morning, especially since it was a long holiday weekend. That conversation, along with one look at Daisy, was all it took for Dr. Adams to know what we were up against. As she left the room saying she needed a blood test, I could read in her eyes, what the blood test soon confirmed. I just didn’t know it had a name that linked so many…Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. The test confirmed it; Daisy’s count was down to 23. That threw Dr. Adams into the doctor mode; she gave us hope, but not false hope. She gave us the option of a bigger 24 hr. hospital, in fact had already contacted and talked to a vet there. She felt she could treat Daisy with the same medications and course of treatment that the bigger facility could offer, and keep Daisy closer to the people she knew and loved. We chose to stay local. They had already started an IV and first round of drug therapy when we left. She called us that afternoon and evening to let us know how Daisy was doing. Both calls came after hours.
"Sunday, September 3: We got a call from Dr. Adams in the morning with an update of how Daisy was taking the treatment… thumbs up! She wasn’t eating, but not vomiting either. She had actually gotten up to see who was there when Dr. Adams came in! The blood count was down to 18, but she had expected it to drop. She called back at 2 pm, Daisy’s was tolerating things well and Dr. Adams wanted to co-ordinate a time to meet at the clinic so we could see Daisy. She would do another blood count then. When we got there at 4 pm, another blood test had already done, which showed the PCV was down to 13. Dr. Adams recommended a transfusion of Oxyglobin. She told us they couldn't get anymore since they are a small clinic but they had saved the Oxyglobin for a time like this. We were told this would buy Daisy time…. We were there over 2 hours. Dr. Adams was in no rush and left us along with Daisy as much as she could. We felt calmed and our spirits were uplifted by the time we left, knowing that Daisy was not only in professional hands, but also loving arms.
"Monday, September 4: I recall this day being like Sunday, The clinic was closed for the holiday, but it didn’t stop or change Dr. Adams course of treatment. She was in contact with us, the larger hospital, and had also called in Dr. Brent Pettigrew for a consultation. Daisy’s count was still dropping, and needed stronger medication and possible a unit of blood. When we arrived, she put Daisy in our arms, and both doctors sat and talked to us. Dr. Adams had called her Vet Tech to bring in her dog for a live blood transfusion, just in case we were willing to proceed, they were ready. I had found Meisha’s website by then, and had a lot of questions. Instead of getting upset because I was questioning her, she thanked me! Dr Adams said if I read anything new to let her know, and if we had any questions she didn’t know the answer to, she was a phone call away from getting the right info. She said, ‘The web is wonderful, she had been reading up on Hemolytic Anemia herself.’ She also said treatments change rapidly, with a disease like this, and books get outdated quickly. We discussed the hard road ahead for Daisy, and how her body needed to be suppressed even more… The one question that burned a hole in my heart was how long do we go on? We didn’t want Daisy to suffer. Dr. Adams looked down at Daisy, and said, ’We will know…” Needless to say, we did the blood transfusion, and it seemed to perk Daisy up just a bit.
"Tuesday, September 5: We got off work and high tailed it to the clinic to see Daisy. She was holding her own, but still wouldn’t eat. Not even baby food, which they bought special for her. That concerned Dr. Adams, because usually after the transfusions, they perk up and want to eat. Daisy didn’t seem to rally like she was suppose to. They were giving her Tagamet injections, for nausea, along with all of the other drugs. To be honest with you, I can’t remember what her blood count was that day. I also have a long list of medications they gave her, but I can’t remember exact doses or day/ times she was given them. I guess everything seemed so unreal at this point.
"Wednesday, September 6: I took the day off from work and went early to spend the whole day with Daisy. Her count was still going down, now at 13, but not as quickly. They gave her another transfusion. Daisy got sick during the treatment, but I was there for her, and she was content. It was a glorious day, picture perfect outside, 70 degrees and sunny. I asked Dr. Adams if I could take Daisy out in the sunshine. She said of course! She said should have thought of that herself! My heart leap! Once outside, I saw a glimpse of the once healthy Daisy I longed for, except there was no masking the jaundice that told the true fight going on inside of that little muscular body. She got to do dog things, and she so liked the sunshine! Before Dr. Adams left, she came out and rubbed Daisy’s belly, and commented that Daisy was really strong, despite how sick she really was. I left that day feeling like we were going to lick this disease after all!
"Thursday, September 7: I was already on my way to the clinic when I received a call from my husband. Dr. Adams had given him a call with both good and bad news. Her count was up to 24!!!! Daisy had finally turned around! But Dr. Adams was concerned because her breathing was labored. When I got to the clinic, Dr. Adams met me in the hall, and told me she was concerned. She had a call into the big hospital in Detroit to see what they had to say. She was hoping they could give her some suggestions, because she was uncertain exactly what was going on. Her lungs were clear but…. One look at Daisy and I knew… she was struggling for every breath, and in my heart I knew it was time…Dr Adams said she wanted a conference call with the hospital before any decisions were made. We had come this far, we needed to consider all the options. The hospital conferred what we already knew. They figured it was either PE or pancreatitis from all the medications it took to get her turned around. Either way, the treatment would be too much for Daisy. Daisy had lost the fight of her life. Both Vets and all of the staff shed a tear the day we lost our little girl.
"So why does Dr. Adams deserve an award? After all she didn’t save Daisy. Dr. Adams spent numerous hours at the clinic, during a long holiday weekend, allowing us to spend precious time with a sick animal. Long after the treatments were finished, she encouraged us to stay as long as we needed. That in itself, says more for the kind of person Dr. Adams is, than any of the medical treatments Daisy received. Any clinic could have treated Daisy with the correct medications it took fight this disease, but it is the way she treated us with compassion that I will always remember. We clung on to Dr. Adams honest and upfront demeanor for guidance, during six exhausting days, and she never let us down. She was truthful with her knowledge of AIHA, stating she sees maybe one case a year. Yet, with one look at Daisy she knew what was going on. She wasn’t afraid of making herself look inadequate by contacting experts in Daisy’s treatment. She was in constant communication with hospitals that deal with AIHA frequently; so she was able to give Daisy the most updated treatments yet, allowing us to stay close to home. When Daisy’s fight was over, she hugged me and thanked me for allowing her the opportunity to treat Daisy. She said either she sees dogs that respond quickly to the treatments; or dogs that don’t make it more than a day or two. She said she has learned so much in the course of the last six days treating Daisy. It made me feel Daisy didn’t fight in vain, that maybe next time…the outcome would be better because of Daisy.
"Two weeks after Daisy’s death we received a beautiful card in the mail from Dr. Adams. In her own hand writing was this message, ‘Words can’t even begin to tell you how sorry I am that Daisy didn’t respond totally- She fought so hard and you gave her every chance to make it through, but I guess it was just beyond our control. I know she meant a lot to you- that you really are missing her & I am so sorry. I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you. I hope with some time it’s easier- it’s so hard when they are so young like she was! It’s such a sudden shock. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to try hard also- Sincerely Darcy’
"A week later we got an itemize billing for Daisy’s treatment. Dr. Adams had gone through and written N/C on all of the blood transfusions, and 11 PCV’s, and multiple drug doses, reducing our bill significantly. This was something we greatly appreciated, but didn’t expect! I feel blest, not only for the quality of care we received, but the quality of compassion given to us by a small town Veterinary Hospital. It is that drive to treat both, people and animals, with such professionalism, patience and compassion that makes Dr. Adams stand out in her field.
"Thank you for allowing me to tell our story of one little rat terrier, who knew no enemies in life but one - Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia."
To see a photo of the Meisha’s Hope Award Plaque given to Dr. Adams Click Here
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