The Drs: Doctor & War Veteran Suffers Brain Aneurysm
The Doctors shared the incredible story of Iraq war veteran, Bronze Star recipient, and brilliant surgeon, Dr Kina Peppers. Patricia, Kina’s mom, shared that her daughter always wanted to be a doctor and take care of people. Joie is Kina’s best friend, who went to residency with her for OB/GYN. Bruce is Kina’s husband, and said one of the reasons he fell in love with Kina in the first place is because she was someone who was able to set a life goal and go after it.
Patricia shared that Kina had decided that she was going to join the Army, and they immediately called her to go to Iraq. She was the only OB/GYN on the base, “saving lives and doing surgeries.” While she was over there, she earned the Bronze Star. When she got back from the last tour of duty, she had a ringing in her ear that wouldn’t go away. She spoke to a neurologist who did an MRI and found that she had an aneurysm on the left side of her brain.
The Drs: Doctor Recovers From Devastating Diagnosis
Kina went in for a minimally invasive procedure called “coiling” to repair the aneurysm. The doctor came out and told the family that he was unable to do the procedure, and the next step was a craniotomy. After the doctor came out of the second surgery, he said it was the hardest surgery he had ever done, and he’s done hundreds of them. He said if he hadn’t done the surgery, the aneurysm would have “blown” at any moment. Kina didn’t wake up for days, and when she finally did she was unable to see, talk, or walk. She was having seizures every one to two minutes.
She would scream in pain all day long and no medicine would help. The doctors figured out that blood had dripped down from her brain into the base of her spine, causing inflammation. Once they got the seizures and pain under control, Kina was able to enter rehab to try to get her walking and talking again. Kina was hardly able to remember her name, so there was a big question of whether she’d be able to be a doctor again.
After all of the therapy, Kina had to undergo a cognitive test that Patricia called “the moment of truth.” The test would determine whether she could be a doctor again. The good news is that Dr Kina Peppers took and passed that test and is now practicing medicine again.
The Drs: Doctor Overcomes Brain Aneurysm
Dr Rachael Ross welcomed Dr Kina Peppers to the stage. Dr Peppers said it’s unbelievable that she’s there, but she’s there for a reason. Dr Ross shared that Kina was very private about her struggle, and Dr Ross said as part of our culture, a lot of us go through illness and want to keep it a secret. Dr Peppers said she didn’t even want her church to know, and when they announced it she was devastated. She said she had to turn it into a positive and think of it as 12,000 more people who were praying for her.
Dr Pepper shared that during her occupational therapy she had to learn how to comb her hair, shower, do laundry, and go through a checkbook. Cooking was part of that as well, and when she was cooking, her hand-eye coordination wasn’t quite right, but when she finished, she presented it to her husband and he knew at that point that she was recovering both physically and mentally.
Dr Travis Stork said Dr Peppers is a living testament to not only being a great doctor but a great patient because she did everything she needed to do in order to get back to where she wanted to be. Not only is she practicing medicine again, but she’s also running marathons.