With a deep love of basketball, Stephanie hopes to become a coach.
Five times in six weeks when she was just 14, Stephanie Hintenach almost bled to death.
Five separate times her family gathered at the hospital hoping, praying, while down a long corridor in another room physicians and nurses kept pulling their daughter back from the edge of death. In just one night she lost 33 units of blood.
Stephanie suffers from a rare disorder, portal hypertension, which is a buildup of pressure in the vein that connects the intestines and the liver. As a result of this condition, veins throughout her stomach and esophagus swell and eventually begin to rupture one by one, pushing Stephanie into a life-threatening crisis. In the six weeks she spent at Sinai, Stephanie experienced multiple crises as physicians tried to manage bleeds that could and did occur at any time. Stephanie’s parents remember that her life was saved by a team of specialists, but they remember as well the compassion they experienced in some of the worst hours of their lives.
Ann Hintenach, Stephanie’s mother: “The doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit were outstanding in their care and professional attitudes that were tempered with sensitivity, love and patience far beyond anything that one would consider standard hospital care. There was always time for our many questions and concerns about Stephanie’s serious condition. There was no question that was unimportant, or need that was too small.”
Stephanie was stabilized at Sinai. On medication to reduce her blood pressure, she has been healthy for over three years. In a letter to commend the staff that saved their daughter’s life, the Hintenachs took the time and made the effort to list by name eight physicians and 27 nurses and support staff. They wanted people to know exactly who was responsible for their daughter’s life. As the years go by, as their daughter moves forward into a future that was nearly denied her, the Hintenachs will no doubt forget some of these names. But they will not forget those terrifying nights when strangers held their daughter’s life in their hands—when people they had never met held their hands, wrapped them in palpable human concern and compassion that helped them endure the unendurable.