Doctors Day bannerDoctors are many things – they are caretakers, they are leaders, they are healers, and they are lifesavers. Shelley McCarron is thankful every day for the lifesaving care she received from Dr. Susan Haney (formerly Kozak) at Poudre Valley Hopsital…

Shelley and her husband had been trying to conceive for over a year. They were an older couple on the conception timescale and had had a couple of disappointing false starts before finally getting pregnant. Following the recommendations of many people in the community Shelley went in to see Dr. Kozak at PVH to confirm the good news. Yes, Shelley was pregnant but there was an issue. She had what is called placenta previa – the placenta was attached to the lower area of the uterus and would need to be monitored. Dr. Kozak gave Shelley some special guidelines to follow while pregnant and advised that the condition could right itself naturally before birth but if it didn’t they would need to schedule a Cesarean section.

The pregnancy was smooth, idyllic even. No sickness, no heartburn. Shelley followed Dr. Kozak’s guidelines to a tee because after so many years of trying she wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardize her chance at being a mother. However, the placenta didn’t adjust to the correct spot during the pregnancy so a C-section was scheduled for a beautiful Friday morning in October.

Ready to welcome their baby into the world Shelley arrived at PVH but the epidural needed to numb the lower half of the body for the C-section wasn’t taking, even after five or six tries. “Dr. Kozak was right there with me” says Shelley, as the frustration mounted. Finally it was decided that she needed to undergo general anesthesia. Dr. Kozak assured her she’d have the baby out in five minutes, before the anesthesia had time to enter the baby’s bloodstream. So under she went.

The doctor made good on her word, their healthy, perfect baby was out in five minutes – alert and aware. But Shelley was hemorrhaging badly, the placenta had attached too deeply to the uterine wall and she was losing a lot of blood. In the waiting room, her husband and mother looked on anxiously as the surgical team rushed past them to Shelley’s room. Dr. Kozak spoke clearly and calmly to Shelley’s husband. They needed to perform an emergency hysterectomy to save Shelley’s life. An hour later she returned with the good news, mom was going to make it.

Telling the story now, with a “perfect, smart, wonderful” six-year old son Shelley still gets choked up. “I won’t have any more children, but I get to be here to take care of him.” After years of trying and dreaming of becoming a parent she had received both exhilarating and devastating news when she awoke from the anesthesia that Friday in October. Because of the swift and expert care of Dr. Kozak, Shelley survived a situation that could have taken her life. “I am overwhelmed with how blessed I’ve been by the PVH care team. After reading the statistics I’m not sure I would have made it if I had been somewhere else.”

Every year on Mother’s Day, and just about all the days in between, Shelley reflects on her gratitude for Dr. Kozak. When the A Building at PVH was torn down last fall and the bricks were made available for inscription through a donation to the foundation Shelley didn’t hesitate, and her inscription was simple “John Patrick McCarron | Born October 2, 2009 | Delivered by Dr. Susan Kozak”


The McCarron family today — photo courtesy of Stephanie Stamos-Hoyle, Stamos Fine Art Photography

Please join us this Doctors’ Day in thanking our local caretakers, leaders, healers, and lifesavers. Northern Colorado is truly fortunate to have world-class healthcare in our own backyard. And we at the foundation are proud to support the amazing work being done in our community.

Thank you!