Lakisha Carmon will be the first to tell you that UC Davis Health saved her life and her baby’s life. But the hospital team also helped her find a place to live – a step that goes beyond what most would expect from their health care provider.
It is for all of these reasons that Carmon returned to UC Davis Medical Center today to present plaques and heartfelt appreciation to the team that helped her when she needed it most.
“The team is amazing. I had anxiety and was on the verge of giving up. I’m thankful to be here. I’m thankful the team saved us,” said Carmon.
It all began last spring when gestational diabetes threatened Lakisha Carmon’s pregnancy. She was 46 years old and pregnant with her fourth child, but this pregnancy was different. She had gestational diabetes and difficulty breathing, which sent her to her local hospital in Stockton many times. Health care professionals suggested that she move from her home in Stockton to Sacramento to get high-risk pregnancy care from UC Davis Health.
She left her three-bedroom home in Stockton with her three children, along with her savings of $6,000, and stayed in hotels and motels. It was a move that she didn’t have to make since UC Davis Health can arrange transportation for out-of-county patients, but she didn’t know this until it was too late.
“Lakisha sacrificed stable housing she had been in for eight years to protect the life of the child growing inside of her,” said UC Davis social worker Brenna Rizan. “Lakisha had done everything right to ensure a smooth transition to Sacramento. She followed every housing lead provided to her.”
But Carmon’s life began to spiral, with the added pressures of needing to manage her gestational diabetes and juggling the stress of trying to find a home in a housing market with very little inventory available.
Carmon began showing up late for doctors’ appointments and wasn’t managing her diabetes. Her car got stolen, with her belongings, while parked at a motel. Carmon tried to hide the truth from her health care team.
“But they figured it out. They realized that things weren’t adding up. I wasn’t taking insulin. I wasn’t eating. I was crying a lot,” Carmon said.
Carmon was hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center so the team could better manage her gestational diabetes. The hospital reserved a room for her children at the Ronald McDonald House of Northern California. Her oldest son, who is an adult, watched over them.
“The doctors and nurses and social workers, even housekeeping, was so inspirational. They all had great attitudes. No one turned their nose up at me. They comforted me,” Carmon said.
And then, Carmon received more bad news. She had a 25-pound cancerous cyst in her ovaries that needed to be removed.
“It was one thing after another. I was bawling when they told me,” Carmon said. “I was really afraid. But they removed it. They saved my life. I may not have survived.”
Following that surgery as well as the joyful birth of her baby boy, Carmon was ready to be discharged from the hospital. UC Davis social workers were ready for her next step.
Her social workers in Labor and Delivery had spent weeks making phone calls and trying to find housing that would work for Carmon and her family. Carmon qualified for the Pathways to Success program through Turning Point services. UC Davis inpatient social worker Leslie Scott placed the referral for her, which made all the difference.
“My hat’s off to UC Davis. I don’t know another hospital that would be able to do what they did for me. The doctors and nurses saved my life and delivered my baby, but they also made sure that me any family were safe,” Carmon said.