Meet Marla: Skin Trauma and the Patient Experience


Valve replacement surgery.

Triple bypass surgery.


Acute kidney failure.

Collapsed lungs.

Lung tubes inserted at the bedside with anesthesia having little effect at easing the insertion pain.

Imagine experiencing all these medical issues following valve replacement surgery. Now imagine if all of them combined did not equal the pain and suffering from one commonplace, standard procedure.

That was Marla’s patient experience. And that traumatic procedure was her dressing changes. It’s something done countless times a day and but for Marla, this was the most traumatic part of her journey.

After 2 of 3 dressing changes, it started be traumatic. Not just for my skin but for me psychologically as well.


The medical team did everything they could to keep Marla alive and get her on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, her skin paid the price. Marla was on dialysis due to her kidney failure. Every two days the clinicians would change her dressings. With each dressing change, a layer of skin was removed. To make matters even worse, alcohol was used to assist dressing changes on her already compromised skin. The painful experience caused Marla physical and psychological pain. Marla details that experience, her unexpected pain, the considerations she wishes her skin would have been given and how everyone can learn from her experience.

Watch her story.

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