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Woman making amazing recovery

Some may call it a miracle.

Local resident Samantha “Sam” Pearson, 24, is making a remarkable recovery at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute after she experienced heart failure two weeks ago, and could be coming back to Fort Frances in the next couple of days.

“She is quite a phenomenon around here,” said Pearson’s mother, Ellen Gagne, who called the Times yesterday from Ottawa.

“Actually, right now as we speak, we have her out on a day pass.

“She may be heading home as early as this Thursday,” Gagne added, noting doctors currently are fine-tuning the heart medications Pearson is on.

“We couldn’t be happier,” enthused Gagne, saying that with the exception of herself and her husband, Peter Gagne, Pearson’s family has left Ottawa in anticipation of her coming home soon.

“We’re all hoping to head home Thursday or Friday,” said Gagne, noting the goal is to be at her father’s place at Reef Point on Sunday, sitting round a fire and looking at the lake.

Gagne said her daughter will have to return to Ottawa in three months. In the meantime, she will be followed clinically over the phone or through her doctor here, Dr. Robert Nugent.

Gagne gave heartfelt thanks to Dr. Nugent.

“That man got her to the right place at the right time. He never gave up, he never stopped,” she stressed.

“I am so thankful for him; we all are.”

As reported in Friday’s Daily Bulletin, Pearson had been taking the immunosuppressant prednisone due to a severe allergic reaction to a drug given to her for rheumatoid arthritis.

She was being weened off the drug, had another reaction, had her dosage increase, and was

being weened off it a second time when she had heart failure on March 21.

She went to the intensive care unit at La Verendrye Hospital, was flown to Thunder Bay, and then flown to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

In the first few days, doctors didn’t know if Pearson would make it or not and were looking to give her a heart transplant.

She then began to make a remarkable recovery, improving each day through the use of heart medications.

Gagne said doctors have theorized that her daughter caught viral myocarditis—an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium), which resembles a heart attack but where the coronary arteries are not blocked.

“We still don’t know what caused it in the first place, and I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” she admitted.

“But all we know is she’s coming back [home] and she’s just doing great.”

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