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Cindy Howell-Oviedo

  • Author: Cindy Howell-Oviedo
  • Date Submitted: Jul 19, 2019
  • Category: General Surgery

“I’m going to die,” Cindy thought. The pain in her abdomen had grown so severe she could hardly bear to sit, stand, or move around. She’d already visited her primary care physician who referred her to a specialist in Fresno, but test after test revealed nothing about her condition.

Besides dealing with debilitating physical pain, the search for an answer was taking its toll on Cindy’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. She felt like no one was listening to her concerns. That is, until she met Dr. Carol Machado, a general surgeon with Kaweah Health Medical Foundation. “Dr. Machado saved my life,” Cindy expressed. “I visited her office in so much pain and needed an answer. The tests weren’t showing anything but I knew something was wrong. She listened to me and scheduled me for surgery the very next day.”

Dr. Machado performed exploratory laparoscopy, a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure used to examine the organs inside the abdomen. She would soon discover exactly why Cindy was suffering. The 53-year-old of Visalia had an umbilical hernia and extensive scar tissue from previous abdominal procedures wrapped around her organs. During surgery, Dr. Machado recalled a previous comment Cindy made about feeling more pain while sitting. Because of her connection with her patient and her thoroughness as a diagnostician, Dr. Machado sat Cindy up on the surgery table and witnessed scar tissue around her bowels twist up in an entirely abnormal way. This was the reason for Cindy’s pain.“If she had not been the one to do this, the outcome would have been different,” Cindy said. “Dr. Machado listened to me. I’m grateful she looked outside the box. I wasn’t a textbook case and she was able to look outside the box to find an answer. I’m feeling great today.”