When Steve Becker fell off a five-foot construction crew truck while working
and landed backwards on the ground, the 61-year-old Army veteran thought
he had just injured his back.
Although he was in pain, the Eatontown resident declined medical treatment
and finished the day’s work. It was not until the following evening
that a tired and lethargic Steve relented and agreed to seek medical attention
– but by then, the situation intensified.
“Steve went to shower when he came home from work and he started
yelling for me to start the car, saying that we needed to go to the emergency
room,” said Steve’s wife, Joanne.
“It was the weirdest feeling, it started in my ears and head and
it felt like everything was going out of my body. I felt like I was going
to pass out,” said Steve.
Within moments, Steve was in an ambulance on his way to Monmouth Medical
Center where Emergency Room department staff determined Steve fractured
his spleen during the fall and the rupture was causing him to bleed internally.
“I remember being the hallway asking for Joanne because I wanted
to kiss her goodbye and being told we didn’t have time, there wasn’t
time to wait,” recalled Steve. “Suddenly Joanne was there
with my grandson who told me he had my lucky silver dollar. I thought
it was the end.”
Steve later found out the reason the emergency and operating room teams
were so anxious to get him in to surgery was so that David J. Dupree,
M.D., FACS, a board-certified general surgeon at Monmouth Medical Center,
could perform an emergency splenectomy - ultimately saving Steve’s life.
Called in to handle the case because of his expertise in trauma and experience
in splenectomies, Dr. Dupree - with the help of the nursing staff and
operating room team – was able to stop Steve’s bleeding, remove
his spleen and complete the procedure in less than 30 minutes.
“Steve lost more than 50 percent of his circulating blood volume,”
said Dr. Dupree. “There was not a lot of time but that night, the
team operated in surgical harmony to ensure the best care for the patient.
From the swift diagnosis in the ER to mobilizing the operating room team
to the intensive care after surgery – a lot of pieces needed to
be in place and they were.”
“I was close to dead,” said Steve. “It was a few days
before I remember meeting Dr. Dupree. He introduced himself and told me
it was touch and go but he knew I was tough old guy.”
The seriousness of Steve’s condition meant he stayed in the hospital
for nearly two weeks. Once he returned home, it was another three months
before he could return to work and still today, he continues his healing
process from the traumatic event.
In the meantime, he continues to praise Dr. Dupree for saving his life.
“Dr. Dupree shared with me that he was home playing with his kids
when he got the call to come to the hospital that night. Thanks to Dr.
Dupree, I get to be home to spend time with my kids and grandson,”