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An EMERGENCY Stop A medical emergency forced Ray Cecil III and his son, Josh, to detour to CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Jasper Memorial on the way home from Houston. The unscheduled stop saved Josh’s life.

Josh and Cecil Ray

On Nov. 19, 2020, the Cecils were driving home to Anacoco, Louisiana, after Josh — a former college athlete who is receiving treatment for metastatic colon cancer — had completed a stay at a Houston hospital following abdominal surgery. The Cecils had already passed Jasper when Josh developed frightening symptoms.

“Josh experienced intense abdominal pain, and we quickly noticed that his biliary bag [a sack that holds excess bile from the liver following surgery] was filling with what appeared to be arterial blood,”
Ray says. “We were more than 10 miles east of Jasper, but we decided to go back pretty quickly.”

The Cecils had no way of knowing that Josh had an aneurysm, or bulge, in his right hepatic artery, which supplies blood to the liver. If an aneurysm bursts, it can be deadly. Josh needed help fast.

When Josh arrived in the emergency room (ER) at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Jasper Memorial, he was in critical condition. Charge Nurse Alex Bernal, RN, assured Josh that he would take care of him, and then evaluated the surgical wound. Emergency medicine physician Aaron Walpole, M.D., also examined the wound.

“I reinforced the existing dressing with a pressure dressing and placed an IV in case Josh needed fluids or a blood transfusion,” Alex says. “My team and I continued monitoring his vitals to ensure his blood pressure remained stable.”

The team determined that Josh needed a higher level of care. Once he was stable, an air ambulance took Josh back to the hospital in Houston where he had his procedure so the physicians who knew his medical history best could care for him. Cecil was impressed by everyone who cared for his son at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Jasper Memorial, from the registration and security staff members to the nurses and physicians.

“A shift change occurred in the ER before Josh flew out,” Cecil says. “It was impressive to see the staff going off duty to stop by Josh’s room and wish him well and offer prayers.

The new crew that came in picked up right where the previous crew left off and were exceptional as well. Professional and personal health care is what we experienced.” Physicians in Houston repaired
the aneurysm, and Josh was able to return home for Thanksgiving.

“I’m proud that our team is able to help critical patients like Josh,” Alex says. “Ours is a small-town hospital, but we have the skills to care for patients like these.”