Living after losing a child is unbearable for most parents and today marks the third anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Amanda Abbiehl.
You may remember the Penn High Grad, who was getting ready for college, went into the hospital for a bad strep infection and never came out.
Her parents believe her death could have been prevented if her respiration had been monitored and they have made in their mission to get Capnograpy, or CO2 monitors, in every hospital nationwide.
And on this anniversary of their daughter’s death, they say they're making progress through a foundation they formed called "A Promise to Amanda."
Everyone who knew Amanda Abbiehl says she had a smile that would light up a room.
So when the bubbly teenager went into St. Joseph Regional Medical Center for strep throat and died, Brian and Cindy frantically looked for answers.
The Abbiehl's wanted to know why their daughter, whose throat was swollen and was heavily sedated was not on a monitor to watch her respiration.
The Abbiehl's met with the hospital but the monitors were not added. However a meeting the Abbiehl's had with Memorial went much better. Capnography was added to every floor for every patient on medication that sedates.
“We felt like these folks were sincere and they were going to do their due diligence and really look into this and we were ecstatic when we found out they were going to go forward with it and obviously they found out it was very necessary,” says Brian and Cindy Abbiehl.
Elkhart General Hospital is also using Capnography to monitor its patients. Brian and Cindy says it won't bring Amanda back, but their foundation is making progress and raising awareness.
“We want to reach out to the community, people who could be potential patients in a hospital, family members so they are aware of respiratory depression and how it affects your CO2 and monitoring as a result of that and also we want to reach out to the hospitals,” says Cindy.
They say the fact that Memorial and Elkhart General are now using the CO2 monitors has eased some of their pain.
“It doesn't really seem like its any easier now than it was when she first passed but every once in a while you get some good news that really makes you feel good and I think that sort of thing helps a lot,” says Brian.
“I don't want to say it's made it easier, it's made it tolerable,” says Cindy. “It's still very difficult.”
And through their foundation they will continue to push for higher standards for patient safety.
“It's a preventable death and why wouldn't you want to do everything you could be prevent someone's death when it's unnecessary,” says Cindy.
And they know their little spitfire, the light of their lives, is smiling down on them for the promise they made to Amanda.
While Amanda was not on Capnography at the time of her death Jason Jablonski from St. Joseph Regional Medical Center released this statement Wednesday saying, "SJRMC has always utilized Capnography, also known as End-Tidal C02 monitoring, in certain areas of the hospital.
Over the past several years, the leadership team has been working on increasing the capability to monitor all sedated patients with Capnography.
In the near future, it is our full intention to monitor every patient undergoing sedation and PCA/PCEA therapy."
And that is the goal of Brian and Cindy's promise to Amanda.
To have hospitals across the nation add Capnography to better monitor respiration on all patients who are sedated.
And as part of that effort they are hosting their first awareness fundraiser at the Mishawaka FOP Lodge on Saturday, August 10.
For just $20 you get a full polish style dinner, there is a DJ and silent auction with lots of neat gifts to bid on.