High school softball player found relief through emergency abdominal surgery

Maggy Whiles, 14, became a regular physical therapy patient at Ascension Saint Thomas River Park hospital in McMinnville after tearing a few ligaments from a fall. Little did she know that one physical therapy appointment would turn into emergency surgery that would remove her appendix.

Detra Whiles noticed something wasn't right with her daughter during the physical therapy session. "She was guarding her right side, and her temperature was at 100, so we immediately went down to the ER," she said.

Maggy was in a lot of pain, but after a few scans, she was taken to a nearby children's hospital for four nights to be treated. Unsatisfied with Maggy's care during her hospital stay, the Whiles called Ascension Saint Thomas River Park hospital general surgeon Dr. Robert Christenson for his opinion on what to do next. "I might be the only person to say this, but we had to leave Nashville and come back to McMinnville to get the quality of care we needed," Maggy's father, Robert Whiles, told the Southern Standard.

Dr. Christenson suggested that the family bring Maggy in if she continued to have pain and severe vomiting. Her symptoms persisted, and they met Dr. Christenson at the hospital for examination. "He came into the room and directly spoke with Maggy about how she was feeling. She said it was the first time she felt like she was being heard. He made her feel like she was important," Detra said.

Dr. Christenson would perform surgery to remove Maggy's appendix two hours after meeting her. After waking up from surgery, Maggy immediately felt relief from the pain she had experienced the days before. "Dr. Christenson and his care team followed up with us after the surgery and after discharge. As a patient, no matter how old you are, whether you are in your teens or your forties or fifties, you want to feel heard and validated," Detra said.

When you are facing a new diagnosis or deciding on a surgical care plan, there's a lot to think about regarding your health. Our general surgeons can provide a second opinion based on our experience and as part of an integrated national network of care.

Get the confidence and peace of mind that your doctor and care plan is right for you. It's easy to get a second opinion at Ascension sites of care. We can review your medical records and healthcare history to answer your questions and discuss options. Talk with one of our doctors about a personalized care plan.

Learn more about general surgery at Ascension Saint Thomas River Park

From the routine to the unexpected, count on our compassionate, personalized care teams to deliver the care that's right for you. Ascension Saint Thomas River Park provides emergency care and inpatient and outpatient services, including general surgery.