As a listener of Jan Markell's radio program, I first heard Scott share his heart-wrenching story about Grace mere months after she passed away. I felt righteous anger welling up inside of me. His story only confirmed what I had feared was actually going on inside of our hospitals during the "pandemic". The many other stories that I've now heard from friends, family and strangers have only served to convince me further of the absolute corruption within our medical system.

In truth, the COVID nightmare only sealed the deal for me. By the time 2020 rolled around, I had already been dealing with an issue that kept bugging me, off and on, for 5 years. However, it's only been recently, as in the past few months, that I am willing to state, openly, that I believe my mom was murdered by doctors in April 2015.

My mom was 66-years old and needed her aortic valve replaced. Because she also had A-fib, they opted to do the traditional open-heart surgery to replace the valve and to do cardiac scoring in an effort to get her A-fib under control. While it is open-heart surgery, which carries with it a lot of inherent risks, valve replacement surgery is extremely common. Thankfully, her heart was healthy, and she didn't have coronary artery disease. Overall, she was a good candidate for this type of surgery.

The typical symptoms of an aortic valve failure result in extreme fatigue to the point the person doesn't have the energy to get out of a chair. We were told for 5 years that my mom could be in a grocery store, getting ready to walk down an aisle, and then her valve could stop working and she'd feel like she couldn't make it to the other end of the aisle. So, that's what we looked for during those 5 years that they monitored her heart murmur. But, in the end, it was nothing like that. Instead, my mom built up a ton of fluid, which caused her to go into congestive heart failure and led to difficulty breathing. That is why we took her to the ER on Palm Sunday morning in March 2015.

They admitted her so that she could get oxygen via cannulas and so that they could begin trying to pull as much of the fluid off of her prior to surgery as possible. She was admitted on a Sunday and the surgery was scheduled for Thursday. By Wednesday, it was clear that more fluid needed to come off of her. My brother and I appealed to her cardiologist to push the surgery back a few more days. According to him, my mom's insurance wouldn't allow her to remain in the hospital pre-op if the surgery was pushed back. His reply to our concern was, "She'll be fine. We've put far sicker people through this surgery, and they lived".

It turns out that our concerns were validated. Her cells were even inundated with excess fluid. This made the normally 4-hour procedure last for nearly 9 hours. She remained on the bypass machine for far longer than is preferred. Despite the fluids already built up in her body, they had to pump more into her during the surgical ordeal. Quite literally when we finally saw her in the ICU post-op, she looked like she'd doubled in size due to the bloating. Seeing her made me gasp.

They kept her in a medically-induced coma for a week, and she was on a ventilator.

Once she woke up, my brother and I began to get the impression that the pulmonary team wasn't in a hurry to wean her off of the vent. My brother is in the medical field, and he knew the longer someone is on a vent, the more likely the outcome isn't going to go so well. On the 4th day after my mom was awake, my bother asked the pulmonologist if performing a tracheotomy was even feasible. My brother's rationale was that a trach would allow our mom to have better mobility, they could get her up and possibly get her walking a little, which would also help her shed more of the fluid. It was apparent by that point that the Lasix being pushed through her system wasn't able to keep ahead of the fluid build-up. To me, it was a legitimate question. However, her pulmonologist didn't even dignify us with an answer. He just looked at my brother in almost disgust, noted something on his laptop, and then walked out of the room. I have never been able to get that little episode out of my mind.

My mom ended up passing away 13 days after surgery. Her surgeon said it was more than likely due to a pulmonary embolism. But, we truly don't know, and given all her body had been through, we unanimously opted not to have an autopsy performed.

Eight years later and I still have lingering questions. Did they rush to surgery too fast given the fluid build-up? Was everything truly done for her that could've been done? Would it have made any difference if she had been given a tracheotomy? We'll never know. As Christians, we also know that none of us draw our last breath unless it's our God-ordained moment. But, that doesn't mean that our passing out of this world isn't without some "assistance", whether knowingly or unknowingly, sometimes.

Much like with Scott, my ordeal has caused me to question everything when it comes to medicine. I began working through the process in 2016, and it only intensified once COVID hit. I have since lost all respect for doctors and the modern medical world in general.

North Charleston, SC