Amanda Bolstridge, a young hard working Broccoli Farmer in Maine, had been complaining of extreme migraines and mood swings landing her in the emergency room several times. She was then diagnosed with encephalitis, a swelling condition of the brain.
Amanda’s mother, Vicky Bolstridge said:
“She kept saying there’s something wrong, my head feels funny. There’s something wrong in my head.”
Then suddenly, Amanda fell into a coma.
At Massachusetts General Hospital, Amanda was transferred to neurology intensive care and assigned to a first year OB-GYN resident, Dr. Rachel Clark. With the help of attending Dr. Rebecca Kolp, Clark diagnosed a small cyst found in the left ovary, as was shown on the CAT scan as Teratoma. Teratoma is a type of tumor that encapsules other growing small organs such as teeth, hair and bones.
In this case, the doctors thought this teratoma was possibly making brain cells, within her ovary, while the antibodies in Amanda’s system were rejecting the growing brain cells in her cyst. The only solution Dr. Rachel Clark thought would save Amanda was removing the cyst.
Clark said, “I was kind of embarrassed actually to bring it up to the team because I was like, “Oh God, I’m the new intern, and they’re going to think I’m insane that I want to take this girl to the OR(operating room).”
After two months of being in a coma, Amanda was sitting up and ready to go home the very next day after the surgery.
Dr. Rebecca Kolp said, “It was really one of the greatest moments of my career, because it’s really like bringing somebody back, and something I never ever would have dreamed that I would have been involved in.”
Dr. Lisa Sanders, who revealed this story in her new book, “Every Patient Tells a Story” says these medical mystery occurrences are nothing new in the life and career of a doctor. Her unique experiences are the inspirational source of numerous story lines on the most-watched TV show “House,” where she is the medical adviser.
“When I went to medical school, my very first day on medical school, the dean said toll of us, 50 percent of what we’re going to teach you in the next four years is wrong,” she said. “Unfortunately, we don’t know which half. Because we don’t know it yet. The doctor is right. Mysteries are happening all the time. We think that medicine is this set body of knowledge. But we’re adding to it all the time. New diseases, new treatments.”