Complications from a noninvasive procedure led to an extended hospitalization for Francesca Van Sant.

Francesca Van Sant, 21, grew up in Ramstein-Miesnbach, Germany. She attended all German schools and had a passion for studying abroad. That brought her to the University of Colorado Boulder. At CU, Francesca majored in French, Chinese, and Geology. She was very active with a competitive rowing team at the school. Francesca also has a passion for hiking, camping, art, concerts, and attending hockey games.

After undergoing a noninvasive mitral valve repair, Francesca experienced complications. She suffered an anoxic brain injury, causing a prolonged hospitalization. Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure led to Francesca being placed on a ventilator and requiring a tracheostomy. Initially, Francesca was unresponsive.

Francesca’s parents, Jake and Lori Van Sant, came to be with her from Germany. They have been an active part of her healing process. At the recommendation of Francesca’s pulmonologist at Boulder Community Hospital, they chose Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital for her recovery.

They couldn’t be happier with the decision.

“Everyone was professional, and it definitely was a family-like atmosphere,” Lori stated. “All the staff would go above-and-beyond to make her comfortable.”

Francesca, who has made tremendous progress in her recovery, concurs.

“The nurses and therapists spent time talking to me and reassuring me of my recovery,” Francesca reflected. “Monica, the respiratory therapist, was always so positive and smiling. The power of a smile and words is huge.”

“The doctors, nurses, patient care technicians, my dog, and family have influenced my recovery,” she added.

Francesca discharged to Craig Hospital for further neurorehabilitation. She then discharged from their inpatient program and is now doing their outpatient program. Francesca is staying with her parents, who have been with her through this entire experience.

“This was a devastating condition but Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital saved her and helped her regain her function,” Lori said.

Francesca is excited and motivated to get back to her prior life. Her goals are to finish college and become a geologist. She would love to work for the United States Geological Survey or State Department.