Traveling 4,600 Miles For Livesaving Care

Patient letter

Dear Fairview,

This is a long-overdue expression of gratitude for Dr. Elizabeth Eckhardt at Fairview Clinics – Riverside. Four children overdue! Not only did she save my wife’s life, but I believe she saved two of my children and demonstrated care beyond obligation.

My wife Pam planned to deliver our first child naturally, but after hours of labor, she required intervention. We learned our child was occiput posterior (meaning the back of his head was against Pam’s back) and his umbilical cord wrapped under his arm and around his neck. Both Pam and the baby were in danger, and there was no chance for a natural birth. Dr. Eckhardt delivered our son Colby via C-section and saved Pam’s life.

Four years later, our son Hudson was delivered via scheduled C-section without drama.

When we became pregnant with our third child Ryder, we returned to Dr. Eckhardt for care. Three weeks before Ryder was due, Dr. Eckhardt determined he needed to be delivered that day—a decision I believe saved his life. It turns out there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, and Ryder was born not breathing. But thanks to Dr. Eckhardt’s judgment and the quick work of the NICU team, he was OK.

To really understand our story and depth of our trust in Dr. Eckhardt, you have to know the connection she has built with Pam.

We lived in Minneapolis for the pregnancies of our first two children, but lived in Poland during Ryder’s pregnancy. Even so, Dr. Eckhardt supported our Polish doctor and cared for Pam through MyChart. That was a big deal for us.

We visited several hospitals in Poland and Germany and interviewed doctors about a C-section delivery. They have capable facilities and skilled surgeons, but we made a personal decision to fly back to the U.S. for Ryder’s delivery.

Would we have done that without the care Dr. Eckhardt showed, or without her willingness to work through MyChart when we lived in a foreign country? More importantly, would Ryder be alive if Dr. Eckhardt had not cared so well for Pam? With zero exaggeration, I don’t think so.

So it should come as no surprise that after moving back to the U.S. and settling in Iowa, we chose to travel to Minneapolis for the delivery of our fourth child, Ivy.

Dr. Eckhardt typically had a medical student or resident with her when our children were delivered. Beyond studying her surgical skills, how she cares for people is a lesson they should carry for a lifetime.

Sean and Pam, along with Colby, Hudson, Ryder & Ivy

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