Nancy Vanveldhuizen

Wife, Mother, Paradigm Hero

It was a beautiful fall day in rural Iowa and Nancy Vanveldhuizen was on her way to work driving past corn fields on a sparsely populated road. This bucolic scene radically changed when a gravel truck suddenly pulled out in front of her and caused a broadside collision. Remarkably she exited the vehicle on her own, but the outward appearance of being uninjured belied catastrophic multiple trauma.

Nancy had suffered severe abdominal injury and required advanced life support in the ambulance en route to Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The hospital immediately admitted her into the intensive care unit where providers diagnosed her with persistent internal bleeding, significant damage to multiple organs and abdominal compartment syndrome. Paradigm’s Network Manager, Stacy Bloemendaal, RN, BSN, CCM, soon arrived and introduced herself to Nancy and her family as their advocate. Stacy immediately began collaborating with treating physicians and the Paradigm Management Team to develop a comprehensive recovery plan.

Treating Nancy’s injuries required multiple surgical interventions, including a splenectomy, a left partial hepatic lobectomy, appendectomy and gallbladder removal. During the first of these abdominal explorations she suffered cardiac arrest and coded three times. Later, medical complications required the amputation of her left arm below the elbow. Surgeons gave her a five percent likelihood of survival. Yet with the support of the Paradigm Management Team, including discussion of treatment options and coordination of specialists, Nancy made a full recovery. Once home, Stacy arranged physical therapy to assist with deconditioning and occupational therapy to train Nancy to use her new myoelectric arm.

“If there was anything I needed,” says Nancy, “I would call Stacy. She took care of everything. It was nice to have someone that you could go to with your question and have it answered or found out for you. If I wouldn't have had Paradigm and Stacy, I think it would have been a lot more stressful."

Nancy never wavered from her desire to achieve full independence despite her amputation. Continually supported by Stacy and the Paradigm Management Team, Nancy returned to her pre-injury lifestyle due to her determination and sense of humor. Today, you can find her gardening and riding all-terrain vehicles in the fields around her home. We proudly call her a “Paradigm Hero.”