Monday, August 6, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 6

“There are no words to express how deeply shocked and saddened we all are after learning of the passing of our beloved, Dr. Campbell.  This is an enormous loss for his family and for all of us as well.  Our hearts have been broken in the most painful way.

We cannot feel life's losses without first feeling the blessings of its fullness. Dr. Campbell has blessed thousands of lives, and we will all be eternally grateful to him.  Each life is touched by others.  With Dr. Campbell, the touch was compassionate and loving, and will linger forever.  Our family has umpteen blessings to be thankful for, and Dr. Campbell tops that list.  He may have claimed to be "nothing special", but to us, and thousands of grateful others, he was nothing less than an angel on earth - our hero and savior and lightyears beyond any kind of "fantastic" word we can think of.    

We were introduced to Dr. Campbell when our son, Luca, was 11 months old.  The moment he walked into the room, we knew our son was going to be in great hands!  You could just feel his compassion and see the love he has for all of his patients!  Dr. Campbell inserted our son's VEPTR at 17 months old, and he has performed every single one of Luca's surgeries since then.  Luca is now 7 yrs. old.  We always get anxious and very nervous leading up to surgery day, but that anxiety would disappear the minute Dr. Campbell walked in.  Even as we sat, each and every time, waiting in surgery reception......the very minute we would see Dr. Campbell walk through those doors, smile and walk towards us, a sense of calmness would come over us and we knew everything was going to be ok.  He would sit down, discuss Luca's surgery, and then we would just talk for a while.  We loved those talks and he loved showing us pictures of his beautiful family.  To know we will never never see him walk through those surgery doors again, never see his smile, hear his jokes, sit and talk.....leaves a void in our hearts that can never be filled.   Dr. Campbell is a God-given gift to our lives.  He gave us hope, he gave our precious little boy a future!  

May Dr. Campbell's incredible lifelong devotion to children's healthcare, his extraordinary achievements and contributions, and his commitment to saving children's lives be a reminder to us all that one person CAN make a difference.  Dr. Campbell definitely qualifies for Sainthood.

May his beautiful, selfless and humble soul rest in peace, and may God watch over and protect his beautiful family.  We hold Dr. Campbell's family safe in our hearts at this time of incredible sadness.  

Dr. Campbell - we are forever grateful!  We miss you dearly and you will always hold a very special place in our hearts!”

- The Argento Family

“Our son Roman was born with an extremely rare tumor called a mesenchymal Hamatomar of the left chest wall. This tumor was so large at birth that it destroyed five ribs and pushed his spine over, resulting in servere scoliosis.  We prepared for Roman’s birth knowing this, but no one knew what to do. 

When Roman was born, they removed the tumor along with five ribs.  We were at a children’s hospital in New York City. We were with the best surgeons. But they had no idea what to do with this 2 week old child. Roman was on cpap,bipap, and then nasal cannula. We were told when he was a month old to go to a rehab facility to transition home. We were new scared parents and did what they told us. While at the rehab my son got pneumonia and his lungs collapsed. We were losing him. We transferred him back to New York only to be sedated and put on a vent. His little lungs just could not work without help and a chest wall. Roman was trached and needed a G-tube. At this point I had not heard my son cry or coo in 2 months. We had no answers or anyone to help us. He needed intervention. 

They asked the head ortho at the hospital and he had no answers.Every night myself and my husband researched his tumor for answers or solutions. All the children we found online had died at birth. The doctors told us they heard about this tumor but had never seen one. We were desperate. 

While on the computer my husband stumbled across Dr. Campbell in Texas. WE WERE GOING TO TEXAS! The next day we were talking to his nurse who was a traveling nurse that happened to be from texas. We asked her if she knew about the VEPTRS And Dr. Campbell. God must have been with us. She said yes I used to work with the VEPTR kids in Texas. I know Dr. Campbell. She says wait a minute. She makes a phone call and comes back with a paper and address to CHOP.  Dr. Campbell is now working there with the VEPTR kids. Her friend who also was a traveling nurse was a nurse practicer in the (pcu) progressive care unit at CHOP. I sent all of Roman’s records to CHOP two days later. I called every Thursday for a month until they said he received his records. Meanwhile Roman was being sent home vent dependent and still no answers or hope. Dr. Campbell is at this point our only hope.

The day we were leaving to go home I requested a meeting with a doctor from ortho to make sure nothing can be done. I asked why he couldn’t do the VEPTRS because this hospital does them.  The doctor said he would not touch my son until at least 13 months. He’s too small. I told him I reached out to Dr. Campbell.  He laughed and said good luck he’s too busy. (the thing is, I found out that Dr. Campbell taught this doctor to do veptrs)! And you would think he would have referred us to Dr. Campbell to save our son’s life! No.

The first night home since birth, Roman goes into cardiac and respiratory distress and my husband and myself had to do cpr.  We were losing him.  He had a plug in his trach. We did not know until we we were transferred from our home hospital back to New York City.  While this was happening, our phones were not  charged. While we were driving home to get the vent and stuff for yet another hospital stay I plugged in my phone. I had at least six missed calls and a voice mail. (I still have the voice mail) When i listened to the voice mail it was “hello Mrs. Ducalo this is Dr. Campbell over here at chop. I can help your son. Please call me so i can have him transferred to our hospital asap.”  

I called him back crying and he was so sweet.  I don’t remember too much of the conversation because I was crying so much and I was in shock. About 4 days later we were transferred to chop. Dr. Campbell along with  Anna came in the room with a big smile on his faceand  says “oh good he’s a big kid” meaning my son was chunky. He continued to explain the kids need fat and muscle to cover the devices. He was delighted.  He had three other children waiting to have surgery but were too skinny.  He also explained how important it was to get this done sooner rather than later because children’s lungs can repair up till the age of 3. He continued to tell us Roman did not have 13 months probably no more than a year to live. He probably wouldn’t be able to walk either. 

Roman went through all his tests. Dr. Campbell came in and said, “Roman’s ready for surgery, are you?!  No turning back now you’re in it for the long haul!”

On May 18, 2011 Roman had gotten his VEPTRS, two spine rods and three rib to rib. He was 5 months old. He always said Roman was the youngest he had done and placed so many veptrs. Immediately after surgery, his breathing was better and he was straighter. Every surgery, Dr. Campbell would ask why he was still on the vent! I would say, that's Mommy's fault. I want to be safe and I was so afraid to go fast weaning him off the vent. Dr. Campbell was so good!  He understood, but said a little faster. When Roman was 9 months old, he came home, at two years old he took his first steps and when he was three his trach and vent were gone.

I always say God sent us our son, but he also put people in place to get us to Dr. Campbell.  I feel the same way now. Dr.Campbell probably took care of things before he passed without anyone knowing. I could not ever thank DR.campbell or his family enough for sharing him with us. Without that, my son would not be with us today. I do not know the future but now my son has one, thanks to Dr. Campbell. We are forever grateful. It will be hard bringing Roman for surgery now.  The halls won't feel the same.  Nothing will feel the same. But I know I can close my eyes and see his face and hear his voice reassuring us that it will be ok. He will be watching from above❤️"

With love always,
The Ducalo family!

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