Lifesaving Surgical Care

July 19, 2018 | Posted By: njnet

Riverview Medical Center Attentive emergency and follow-up surgeries get a Port Monmouth resident back to normal.

Todd Higby, 61, was someone who never went to the doctor. The Port Monmouth resident had always kept busy supporting his family, and had never undergone surgery or visited a hospital as a patient. “I was the type of guy who was afraid to go see a doctor for fear they’d find something wrong with me,” says Todd.
Last March, Todd began to feel ill and not like himself. Over the course of three days, he had no appetite, felt bloated and was constipated. “I wasn’t feeling good at all and knew something was wrong.” When the discomfort grew too severe, Todd’s wife, Barbara, drove him to the Emergency Care Center at Bayshore Medical Center.

Call for a Hero
Steven Tizio, M.D., FACS, a colorectal surgeon affiliated with Bayshore and Riverview Medical Center, was called in to assess Todd’s condition. Todd had diverticulitis, an inflammation in his colon that had perforated (ruptured).
When he arrived at the Emergency Care Center, he was septic and critically ill due to the fecal (stool) contamination in his abdominal cavity.

Dr. Tizio executed a successful sigmoid colon resection with temporary colostomy, in addition to irrigating the stool and abscess from Todd’s abdomen within hours of his arrival at the hospital. During the creation of a colostomy, the colon is brought out through an opening in the abdominal wall and the stool is collected into an external collection bag. This procedure allows the rectum to heal over three to six months before reversing the colostomy and placing the colon back into continuity. “Given the severity of Todd’s injury, prompt surgical care was critical to save his life. He would have died within the next 24 hours,” says Dr. Tizio.
Despite the fears surrounding Todd’s condition, he and Barbara remained relaxed knowing they were in Dr. Tizio’s expert hands. “Dr. Tizio’s knowledge and honest approach gave me and my wife immense comfort and relief during a very stressful situation. I wasn’t scared at all,” says Todd.
After surgery, Todd spent a week in Bayshore’s Intensive Care Unit for blood pressure and respiratory support, and another week in the hospital to monitor his condition.

Optimal Care
Upon returning home, Todd spent the next six months resting and recovering. “My strength slowly began to return and I continued to have follow-up consults with Dr. Tizio,” he says.

On September 26, six months after his colostomy surgery, Todd went to Riverview, where Dr. Tizio performed a colostomy reversal surgery to remove the stoma (colostomy) from Todd’s abdominal wall and reconnect the colon to the rectum, fixing the hole in the abdominal wall. “I think the world of Dr. Tizio. I consider him a friend, a gentleman and a hero,” says Todd. “His bedside manner was outstanding. He was just the greatest surgeon and he answered all our questions.”
Just five days after his reversal surgery, Todd was walking and returned home from the hospital. He credited his recovery to Dr. Tizio’s surgical excellence and the attention to detail paid by his caregivers. “The nursing staff and care team at Riverview were excellent. I cannot say enough great things about the care I received,” says Todd.

A Healthy Journey
Upon leaving Riverview, Todd was able to resume his normal daily activities. He is now meeting regularly with a primary care physician, which has helped Todd manage his health and get his blood sugar levels under control. “As a guy who always stayed clear of doctors, I’ve come to realize how much they can help you. I’ve lost weight and feel healthier than ever,” says Todd.
Throughout his care journey, Todd remained in high spirits from the endless support his family members and close friends provided. None was stronger than the love from Barbara, who stood at Todd’s side throughout his entire treatment and recovery. He looks forward to going fishing this summer after missing out last season.

Written By Jim Kelly: Originally Published on