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Katie Benes
Nutrition Assistant, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, Laguna Hills, California

In June of 2008 Katie Benes died. Officially Coded Blue.

Three days earlier Katie was admitted to the ER and diagnosed with sepsis. According to the US National Library of Medicine, sepsis is a severe illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacterial infection.  In sepsis, blood pressure drops, resulting in shock.  Major organs and body systems, including the kidneys, liver, lungs, mental functions, and central nervous system, stop working properly. Accordingly, Katie was placed in ICU.

While in ICU Katie developed pneumonia and went into cardiac arrest.  Thanks to the professional team at Mission Hospital, Katie was revived.  The doctors induced a coma and she was placed in a RotoProne bed (automated manipulative bed designed to prevent pulmonary complications) where she remained for five days.

Katie spent three weeks in the hospital rehab unit re-learning how to walk, talk, swallow, and feed herself.  Released shortly after to a Rehabilitation Center, she continued therapy but suffered a diabetic reaction which further slowed her progress. Ten weeks after being admitted to the ER in June, Katie was released and continued rehab at home with therapists. 

In February of 2009, Katie entered the Coastline Community College Acquired Brain Injury Program and graduated nearly two years later in December, 2010. Since then she has taken nutrition courses at Orange Coast College. She continues to volunteer for Escort and Messenger here at Saddleback, while still taking classes and continuing to improve her speech and motor skills.

Recently, and thanks to Tamara Koch and Stella Lee, MS, RD, Diet Office Supervisor, Clinical Dietitian in Food & Clinical Nutrition Services, Katie was hired as a Nutrition Assistant here at SMMC. This is a long way from being a grade school teacher, which she was for three years before her clash with death. Nevertheless, Katie just ‘loves the job’ and loves every new day of her new life. She is thankful for her faith and her family and friends who encouraged and supported her through this miracle.

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