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The Story of Surviving Necrotizing Pancreatitis


My name is Leslie. I would like to open a discussion board for those of us who have experienced Pancreatitis or Necrotizing pancreatitis either personally or with a loved one who has been struck by the illness.  My husband, David is a survivor of the devastating illness.  David was impacted by the illness in September of 2013 and was not expected to survive.  You can read “The Story of Surviving Necrotizing Pancreatitis” to grasp the severity of his illness.  David was hospitalized in critical condition for many months and continued to suffer from the ravaging illness for another year and a half.  While David lay in ICU in a medically induced coma, I desperately searched for information on the illness but could not find anything other than medical journals.  I had never heard of the illness and certainly had no idea how drastically our life was about to change.  I have attained a vast amount of experience that I would love to share with anyone who is searching for answers.  I welcome anyone who also has the experience to chime in with me so that we can help those who are searching for answers and support.

I would like to share the story of my husband’s survival against all odds as he fought the devastating illness called Necrotizing Pancreatitis. I share this story in hopes that someone out there who is going through the experience of this illness or has a loved one who is, can gain some insight into what to prepare for. For those of you who are loved ones of the person who has been suddenly struck down by this illness, the following is a day to day account of the ups and downs we experienced. I hope that it will help you to keep the faith and stay strong. I kept a daily journal of everything that was happening so that my husband could reflect back on it one day. You see, I was confident that he was going to survive and I refused to believe that he would not be able to read it one day, even though the doctors had told me to get his affairs in order. I was told that he only had a one percent chance of survival. Induced into a medical coma within 48 hours of arriving via ambulance to the hospital, my husband faced insurmountable
odds of recovering.

During my grief and my desperate need to understand this illness, I spent hundreds of hours researching and reading medical journals as he lay in a coma in the ICU of Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston Texas. My husband’s name is David, and he survived Necrotizing Pancreatitis.

It was September 14, 2013 and the day was completely normal. My husband and I had breakfast together and then proceeded with our day as usual. David was a healthy 53-year-old, active man until 2pm this day. David’s stomach began to hurt and he complained of abdominal pains. When the pain became intolerable, an ambulance was called. During the transport, David slipped in and out of consciousness. By the time that the ambulance arrived at the hospital, David was barely coherent. Emergency room doctors scrambled to try to figure out what was wrong. Within hours, David was barely alive and the doctors induced a medical coma as a last ditch effort to sustain his life.

It was soon diagnosed to be Pancreatitis and the doctors explained that a gallstone had dislodged from his gall bladder which caused his Necrotizing pancreatitis to rupture. I was told that Bile had spilled out of the ruptured pancreas and many of his internal organs had been splashed with the bile. “Like acid on a steak,” they told me, the bile had destroyed his gallbladder, pancreas, colon, and small intestines. He was also in respiratory failure. David had gone into multi-organ failure, and mortality was imminent.

The following is an excerpt from my diary that I prepared for David. I have chosen to keep it in the format that it was originally written, even though it is so personal in nature.  If our story can reach out and help even one family, then it is worth it. I hope that by reading these intimate details that you can pick out things that will help you to understand what is happening to your loved one. I truly believe that anyone out there who is searching for answers for what to expect, you will find the answers in my diary. I had never heard of this illness when it happened to David and therefore I had no reference and no way to understand what was happening. David was struck down in September of 2013 and he is still recovering to this day,
two years later in 2015.

I am writing this journal to document each day that passes while you are in an induced sleep. When you come back to me, I want you to be able to read about every day that you missed.  I hope that it will bring you peace when you read each passage and that you can fill in the blanks as though you never lost a day.

You have been in ICU for three days now and things have begun to get a lot worse. They say that your blood work is not good. They are telling me that your white blood count is indicating a very serious infection. Doctor Walker came in this morning and told me that the odds of you surviving are very slim. I’m so scared. Your abdomen is really swollen and you look to be in serious pain, even though you are sedated. I’m confused. I don’t know what’s happening. They say you are getting really bad and I’m scared. I can see that you are really bad. Now you have gone into respiratory failure and your kidneys have shut down completely. They are saying that you are in multi-organ failure. Your gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, and lungs. I need you to hang on baby. It’s not a time for this. I am praying so hard. They say that all they can do is try to sustain your life while your body heals itself.

It’s time to call our son David home. The Red Cross has made contact with his Commanding Officer and they are making arrangements for him to
leave base today.


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