Marybeth Monaghen – In Memoriam

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Marybeth Monaghen – In Memoriam


Marybeth Monaghen – Survived by her sister Paula Blonski.

In May 1998 Marybeth Monaghen went to the hospital to have an ovary removed after it had been causing her trouble for years. After the surgery, Marybeth came home from the hospital and began to receive in home health care to attend to her wound. The wound was not healing properly; therefore, two weeks later, she went back to the hospital to have it cleaned out, in order to stop the bleeding, and to help the wound to heal. One week later, her temperature was high enough for the doctors to be worried enough to readmit her; it was then that she began her battle.

They ran several tests on Marybeth to determine why she had a fever. Another puzzling factor was that her white blood cell count was low, which is unusual with a fever, as the count should have been high. She began to get progressively sicker, and began to have trouble breathing. They decided to do a bone marrow extraction in which the results told us she had Leukemia.

Marybeth’s family was devastated at this news, but decided not to tell her yet, as they wanted her to keep her strength up for the battle ahead. She was still having trouble breathing, so they decided to next do a lung biopsy. During the biopsy, her lung collapsed and they intubated her. Marybeth now officially had ARDS. The decision was made to move her to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. The physicians there were hopeful that they could cure the leukemia, if only they could stabilize her ARDS. Marybeth spent the next three weeks on the ARDS roller coaster, until one day, when they could no longer stabilize her with medication, she slipped away.

The loss of Marybeth was devastating to her family and friends. Marybeth was only thirty-six years old and previous good health. She had been a nurse, who had spent her life caring for others. During Marybeth’s lengthy hospitalization, her family had very few resources and little information. They were surprised and amazed that Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome affects so many people each year, killing at least half of them, yet they had never heard of this syndrome. Marybeth died in August 1988, three months after she went to the hospital to have her surgery.