There are many challenges in life and having a second opinion can be comforting, especially when it’s from Mayo Clinic. Brooke Strickland and her family know first-hand how a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic Care Network can lift the numerous doubts and outshine the greatest of fears.
It was an ordinary February day for Brooke, her husband Travis, and their two children Hunter and Kiara. Brooke returned home from a trip to New York City and started to feel under the weather. Soon, she started to run a fever, and her symptoms led her to believe that she was the latest victim of influenza. After receiving care in Washburn and testing negative for influenza, Brooke was put on antibiotics and returned home, still not convinced that everything was alright.
One week later, her condition was not improving; rather, she was getting worse as it was getting hard for her to breathe. It was early morning on February 6 that Brooke decided she needed more immediate care. After rushing the kids off to school, Travis drove her to St. Alexius’ Emergency Room in Bismarck. When the nurse took her vitals and realized that her blood pressure was extremely low, Brooke was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit where she was intubated and put on a heavy dose of antibiotics. Brooke had pneumonia, blood in her left lung, and she was running a dangerously high temperature. The ICU team soon discovered Brooke had a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one or more of the arteries in your lungs. Brooke’s care team set the course of antibiotics and medication to help her improve.
About midway through Brooke’s stay at St. Alexius, Travis asked Dr. Peter White, an anesthesiologist and specialist in critical care medicine in St. Alexius’ Heart & Lung Clinic  and ICU , about consulting with Mayo Clinic on the course of treatment. “We weren’t second-guessing the care I was receiving, it was more of a double look to make sure we were treating everything at once.” said Brooke. Dr. White used the Mayo Clinic Care Network to consult with specialists on Brooke’s condition and treatments. According to Brooke, Mayo was able to look at charts and tests, everything short of looking at her in person.
Within forty-eight hours, Brooke and her family received a second opinion. Mayo Clinic confirmed with St. Alexius’ physicians on her diagnosis and treatment plan. “It was excellent reassurance… when I think of Mayo I think of very respected medical experts. To know that they said St. Alexius was doing everything correct and knowing how bad my condition was gave us all peace of mind.” Brooke’s health improved and she returned home on March 7. “Thinking back, if I would have stayed home and went back to bed, I might not be here today. I want to thank all of the phenomenal nurses and staff along with Dr. White and all the specialists who treated me,” Brooke said with a smile. The team caring for Brooke included Dr. Peter White , infectious disease specialist, Dr. Supha Arthurs , and Dr. Michael Booth , a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, along with many nurses and therapists. “The ICU worked as a team in treating Brooke,” explains Dr. White. “Everyone from the entire ICU team and specialists from all areas of the hospital approached and treated Brooke’s illness with compassion and care.”
The Mayo Clinic Care Network  extends Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to St. Alexius physicians. Through this membership, St. Alexius physicians have access to Mayo-based research and expertise via the AskMayoExpert database and are able to consult Mayo specialists on questions pertaining to patient care. St. Alexius Medical Center became a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network in 2012.