Lupus Patient Makes Extraordinary Recovery | News | Loyola Medicine
Monday, November 3, 2014

Lupus patient makes extraordinary recovery after being treated at Loyola

MAYWOOD, Ill. (Nov. 3, 2014) – Doctors at Loyola University Medical Center say Lauren Bank suffered one of the worst lupus attacks they had ever seen.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which a patient’s immune system attacks normal tissue. And when Lauren arrived at Loyola’s emergency department by helicopter, virtually every organ in her body was under attack.

Lauren was unconscious, had brain inflammation and a 106-degree fever. Her kidneys were failing and she later developed heart problems. Her parents worried she might not survive.

But once Loyola physicians gave Lauren a full range of treatments to suppress her overactive immune system, she made an extraordinary recovery. Lauren, a 22-year-old college student who lives in Joliet, Ill., is in remission. Apart from feeling a bit of fatigue, she is having no fevers, joint pain or other lupus symptoms.

“I feel great,” she said.

Lauren believes she probably had lupus months before it was diagnosed at Loyola. Leading up to her attack, she had puffy eyes, suffered headaches and was tired all the time. “All I wanted to do was go to bed,” she said.

Lauren’s near-fatal lupus attack began with severe joint pain and flu-like symptoms. Her eyes couldn’t focus and she had trouble breathing. Her parents took her to a local hospital, but she continued to deteriorate until she was transferred to Loyola.

At Loyola, Rodney Tehrani, MD, and Melissa Bussey, MD, diagnosed Lauren with lupus and quickly instituted a comprehensive plan of care.

That proved to be the turning point. “I celebrate the day that Dr. Bussey and Dr. Tehrani diagnosed Lauren,” said her mother, Rohnda Bank. “Once they gave it a name I knew they could help her."

Lauren was put on steroids and other drugs to suppress her immune system. She underwent apheresis, a treatment in which her blood was circulated through a machine that removed lupus antibodies. She also was given antibiotics and intravenous immunoglobulin. Watch Lauren's story in this video.

To help stay in remission, Lauren takes lower doses of immune-suppressing drugs and comes to Loyola for regular lab tests.

“My lupus has been under control for two years,” Lauren said. “I couldn’t be more thankful."

Loyola’s board-certified rheumatologists treat patients with lupus and other complex rheumatologic diseases. Rheumatology specialists collaborate with medical and surgical specialists to provide multidisciplinary care for patients with arthritic or immune-mediated diseases.

Dr. Tehrani is an associate professor and director of the Division of Allergy/Immunology/Rheumatology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Dr. Bussey is an assistant professor in the Division of  Allergy/Immunology/Rheumatology.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.