Thankful for Christmases to Come - A Gratitude Story

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In December of 2021, Catherine “Kate” McCarthy was looking forward to visiting family in London to celebrate the holidays. But shortly before her scheduled flight, she began experiencing abdominal pain—pain that became so severe she needed to go to the hospital.

“I was admitted into the emergency department at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on December 23,” Kate explains. “There, I was fortunate to be seen by an amazing group of medical professionals who quickly diagnosed me with a potentially life-threatening condition.”

Kate had a bowel obstruction caused by scar tissue from a previous surgery. Her condition was so acute she needed an operation to survive. She had corrective surgery just hours later.

Her procedure, performed by Zhifei Sun, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon at MedStar Georgetown, went smoothly, and she was soon resting comfortably. She considers herself lucky that Dr. Sun was on call when she arrived at the hospital. “I am so grateful for the care I received in the ER, for the incredible skill of Dr. Sun and his team, and the kind, dedicated care I received from the nurses,” she says. “I was especially impressed that Dr. Sun checked on me every day…even on his days off.” In gratitude, Kate made a philanthropic gift to support the construction of the new Medical/Surgical Pavilion at MedStar Georgetown.

“I spent Christmas in the hospital, but because of the incredible skill and care of the emergency and surgical teams at MedStar Georgetown, I will get to spend many, many future Christmases with my family,” Kate adds. “All of these people worked throughout the holidays to care for patients like me. They are truly heroes.”

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