Patient Story

Meredith's story: Georgia woman uses tragic incident to advocate for others

Meredith Forrester was just seven weeks into her new job as a marketing associate when she and numerous colleagues were shot at work – an attack known today as the Atlanta Day Trader Shootings.

Emergency medical response teams sent individuals to local hospitals based on their condition. Considered relatively stable, Meredith was sent to Northside Hospital Atlanta. General surgeon Dr. Iqbal Garcha was Meredith’s head doctor that day, and worked alongside surgeons Dr. Patrick Luke and Dr. David Rueben, as well as physicians in the vascular surgery, hematology, infectious disease and neurosurgery.

Once in surgery, Dr. Garcha found Meredith’s true condition was more severe than anticipated. The bullet had affected organs across her body, including her heart, spine, intestine and pancreas. She also experienced major blood loss and nerve damage in her right leg. Her family members were told she had a 1 in 1,000 chance of survival.

Two days later, on July 31, 1999, Meredith had a second emergency surgery. She stayed in the ICU for a week before moving to an inpatient room at Northside, where she remained for a month. While her family visited her regularly, Northside staff supported Meredith during her 4-week-long recovery.

Not only are the doctors beyond competent, they also have such big hearts,” Meredith said. “The staff took the best care of me, and they were always so kind and wonderful. The nurses were just like family.”

Meredith left Northside Hospital Atlanta in the late summer of 1999, and went to a local rehabilitation center for physical therapy. She taught herself to walk again and began moving assistance-free a year after using a wheelchair post-surgery. Fully recovered in late 2000, Meredith turned back to her career and earned an MBA. After meeting her husband in 2003, she began building a family and caring for her two daughters, Brooke and Arden.

Meredith visited Northside Hospital on happier occasions in her life after her traumatic incident in 1999. Both of her daughters were born at Northside Hospital Atlanta, in October 2007 and April 2010. Meredith met with a perinatologist and OBGYN Dr. Winifred Soufi at Northside for both pregnancies, and was monitored during labor by Dr. Garcha as a safety precaution.

In June 2011, Meredith spoke at a United Way meeting held at Northside Hospital Atlanta to discuss volunteering with the Red Cross and their ongoing need for blood donations. Meredith needed 115 pints of blood during her surgery in 1999 and continues to advocate for donations.

Most recently, Meredith visited Northside Hospital Atlanta on the 20th anniversary of her first visit in 1999 to thank doctors and staff for saving her life.

I could have seen Northside Hospital as a place that I would never want to go back to because of the event that first brought me there,” Meredith said. “Instead, when I think of Northside, I just feel grateful and appreciative for the care I received.”

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