When Shawn Lau said his chest was hurting when he breathed, his mom, Marianne, was worried — especially in light of the current pandemic. Tests revealed that the cause of the high school student’s discomfort was not COVID-19, but some abnormalities in his lungs. “The doctor told us we needed to go to the emergency department right away,” says Marianne. “It’s a good thing Huntington Hospital is so close.”
Shawn was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax, a rare condition in which air builds up between the lungs and the chest cavity for no apparent reason, causing the collapse of a lung. Our team provided the treatment he needed, which involved inserting a tube to suction out excess air, allowing the affected lung to re-expand.
Shawn was then moved to our pediatric care unit. “The nurses explained all the COVID-19 pandemic precautions the hospital was taking,” says Marianne. “They made everything comfortable for us and we felt safe there.”
A few weeks later, after follow-up testing revealed renewed onset of spontaneous pneumothorax, Shawn returned to us for further treatment. This time, the procedure did not resolve the problem and our team treated him via minimally invasive surgery. “The experience was the best we could have asked for and Shawn has made a full recovery,” says Marianne.
Shawn began his sophomore year remotely, while recovering from surgery in our pediatric unit. “We are so grateful to the pediatric staff,” Marianne says. “They were very accommodating so he could still do his school work. Everyone at Huntington Hospital works together as a team,” she adds, “and it’s clear they love what they’re doing. We wouldn’t go anywhere else for care.”