True Stories at UnityPoint Health

Jeff's True Story of Coordinated Care

Care Coordination Leads to Life-Saving Outcome for Jeff Bruch

When Melissa Bruch, Clinical Supervisor at Allen Home Care, learned that her husband, Jeff, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, she knew he would require an advanced level of care. After being transferred by ambulance from Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner to Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Jeff underwent further testing in hopes of discovering a diagnosis.

The morning following Jeff's admittance, Dr. Pradeep Ramesh of Allen Hospital delivered the news that Jeff had a serious condition and would need plasmapheresis, a treatment which removes plasma containing antibodies attacking the immune system and replaces it with healthy plasma.

"Dr. Ramesh quickly identified that Jeff had the symptoms of a very rare disorder," Melissa said. "We later learned that approximately 300 people in the United States have this illness and that if Dr. Ramesh had not picked up on the diagnosis so quickly, Jeff may not have had the positive outcome that he did."

After being notified of the severity of his condition, Jeff was transferred to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where he was placed under the care of Dr. Thomas Buroker. "Dr. Buroker immediately helped us feel less anxious, answered our questions and coordinated Jeff's care very well," Melissa said. "Dr. Buroker has one of the best bedside manners I have ever encountered and was always straight-forward with us. He even managed to get a smile out of Jeff on some of our worst days," Melissa said.

During Jeff's twelve day hospitalization, he underwent four plasmapheresis sessions and was diagnosed with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), a rare, chronic disease causing blood clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body, affecting the kidneys and other organs.

Following his diagnosis, Jeff received IV medication that allowed him to regain much of his kidney function. "Providers from Iowa Kidney Physicians were instrumental in having this medication flown in from out of state," said Melissa. "Because of Jeff's early diagnosis and medication initiation, he did not require dialysis or a kidney transplant like others whose illnesses were not caught early on," Melissa said.

Once Jeff's condition stabilized and he was able to return home, his care was taken over by local providers, Dr. Joginder Singh, Dr. Vinay Kantamneni and Dr. Renu Bansal, who continued to coordinate his care. "I truly don't know where we would be without the excellent care we received across the entire continuum," Melissa said. "From the care we received in our small hospital, to Allen Hospital and to Iowa Methodist and back home again, 'thank you' just doesn't seem like a big enough phrase to express our gratitude for the care that was so well coordinated during this difficult time."