Phyllis' Story

Phyllis JohnsonWhen Phyllis Johnson’s doctor in New Mexico thought she might have a lung disease called sarcoidosis, she knew just where to send Phyllis – National Jewish Health.

Sarcoidosis is a disease that can affect any organ of the body. Very small clusters of white cells, called granulomas, are seen in the organs affected with sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis of the lungs is the most common form of the condition and can lead to permanent scarring.

Like many people with the condition, Phyllis’ first symptom was a chronic cough that wouldn’t go away. An x-ray revealed that it was more than just a cold or infection, and her doctor referred her to a pulmonologist.

Phyllis eventually had surgery to drain her right lung, but the surgeon found that the lining of her right lung had adhered to her chest wall. The surgeon thought she might have sarcoidosis. Her pulmonologist agreed and told Phyllis she needed to go to the experts at National Jewish Health.

A few weeks later, Phyllis and her husband, Larry, came to Denver for a four-day appointment with E. Brigitte Gottschall, MD, an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

“Dr. Gottschall is one of the most fantastic ladies I’ve ever met in my life,” Larry says. “I remember she said, ‘We’re going to take care of this problem.’”

For the next few years, Phyllis and Larry returned to National Jewish Health every six months. They were continually impressed with the care she received.

“The way they treat the customer is the best. They have one focus when you are there – on you,” Larry says. “Two months before her appointment, we had her complete schedule, and you don’t have to spend any time waiting.”

With the right regimen of medications and oxygen therapy, Phyllis’ condition is contained. They now come back to National Jewish Health once a year, and Dr. Gottschall works with her doctors in New Mexico on her care.

“The working relationship between her three providers is unheard of,” Larry says. “They don’t duplicate any tests, and they share all of the information they need.”

Phyllis and Larry are grateful for the care she has received at National Jewish Health.

“She is the love of my life, and to think she might not have been here …” Larry says. “What else could we ask for? We love National Jewish Health.”

 

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