Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Young Family's Gratitude for the Gift of Life

When asked what they are most grateful for, Carmine and Susanna Mistichelli don’t hesitate with their answer, “Our two sons, Dr. Victor Khouzami and GBMC.” Susanna’s first pregnancy, with 4-year-old Vittorio, was fairly routine, so she expected the same when she became pregnant a second time.

Unfortunately, nothing could have prepared her for the challenges ahead. About 17 weeks into her second pregnancy, with 6-month-old Ezio, Dr. Khouzami noticed an abnormality during a routine exam and diagnosed Susanna with “cervical incompetency.” He performed an emergency cervical cerclage to prevent her from going into preterm labor. “I was so thankful that Dr. Khouzami caught it before it was too late,” says Susanna. “I couldn’t help but think of all the ‘what ifs’ and wonder if another physician would’ve been able to identify it so quickly.”

She was restricted to bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. When she went into labor on September 28, 2011, she was thrilled at the prospect of meeting the family’s newest addition. “Our delivery was going perfectly. But, about an hour after my healthy baby boy was born, it turned into a nightmare,” she remembers. “Susanna began to hemorrhage,” explains Carmine. “It was so difficult to get under control. I was truly worried that I may lose the love of my life.” Susanna was hospitalized for six days while Dr. Khouzami and his team worked to stop the bleeding. Shortly after the Mistichellis came home, Susanna hemorrhaged again and was re-admitted for two more days. But thanks to the diligence of Dr. Khouzami, his colleague Dr. Kimberly Kesler, and the rest of the care team, the bleeding eventually stopped for good. Susanna is now fully healthy and busy raising her growing family.

“Even throughout that terrifying complication, my experiences at GBMC have been nothing but positive,” Susanna says. “The doctors, nurses and midwives left such a strong impression on my husband and me. Because we were treated so well, we often felt like we must have been the only patients in the hospital.”

The Mistichellis were so pleased with their care and so thankful to Dr. Khouzami and GBMC staff for keeping their family healthy that they wanted to give back. By making a generous pledge to the Maternal Newborn Health Department in honor of Dr. Khouzami, they ensure that other families will continue to have wonderful labor and delivery experiences at GBMC. Additionally, Susanna now volunteers her time as a member of the Parents Advisory Council (PAC), a 25-plus member council for community members who have had direct experience with GBMC’s maternal, newborn or pediatric services. “Being an active member of the council is the least I can do to thank GBMC for ensuring the health of my family and for saving my life,” says Susanna.

For more information about Maternal Newborn Health at GBMC, visit or call 443-849-GBMC (4262). To learn more about donating to the GBMC Foundation, visit or call 443-849-2773.

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