Amber and Mark recognize Amber’s care team, Dillon, Jose, Jaime, Azael, and Kate with Guardian Angel Awards.

Amber and Mark recognize Amber’s care team, Dillon, Jose, Jaime, Azael, and Kate with Guardian Angel Awards.

Amber Webster's Guardian Angels

Chandler couple thank their Guardian Angels for outstanding care during medical emergency

When they needed fast, expert, compassionate care the most, the staff at Chandler Regional Medical Center stepped up in a big way, say Amber and Mark Webster of Chandler. 

In March 2023, Amber Webster experienced a medical emergency that no one saw coming. One moment she felt relatively fine and the next Mark found her unconscious on the floor in their home. 

The culprit would be revealed at the Chandler Regional Medical Center emergency department – massive blood clots, the most serious of which had formed in her lungs.

On top of this already serious condition, other complications arose which led to Amber being placed in a medically induced coma on life support for 10 days while she fought for her life. 

In all, she would spend 17 days in the hospital, with Mark by her side around the clock. The couple – who had never experienced a long hospital stay like this – said the experience was scary and difficult, but that the staff went above and beyond to help them feel supported, from patiently explaining treatments to helping with paperwork. 

But more than that, the Websters say the team at Chandler Regional went out of their way to show them kindness. 

For example, Amber shared that on the first night of her hospital stay, Mark had gone home to quickly check on their dog and had inadvertently fallen asleep, wiped out from the stress of the day. After being away from the hospital for a little while, Mark was roused from his accidental nap by his phone ringing. It was the nurse who was on duty when he left calling to check on him and make sure he was safe.

Another moment that stands out was when Amber awoke from her coma and, even though she couldn’t yet speak due to intubation, she felt immediately concerned about her physical state, including her long, dark hair.

She said she started feeling her head and looking at her husband somewhat wildly, which he immediately interpreted. 

“Mark understood me,” Amber said. “He said, ‘A nurse braided your hair.’ That meant so much to me.” Adding that these small moments of dignity and respect carried them through the trying times.

After Amber was discharged, she continued to think about the people at the hospital who had cared for her, and for Mark, over those long weeks of her treatment and recovery. 

“I was unconscious most of that time,” she said. “I didn’t know who all of those people were. But I wanted to know them. I wanted to say thank you.” 

So Amber and Mark started a little ritual. Whenever they were in the area, they’d have lunch at the hospital’s cafeteria, just hoping they would run into someone who had been part of Amber’s care team.

“They have a great bacon cheeseburger,” Mark said. “It was a joke at first. I told Amber once she was better I’d bring her back to try it. So we did. And we hoped we’d catch a glimpse of someone and say hi. It became a thing.”

Then the Websters learned through Amber’s employer, the Husband & Wife Law Team - Mark and Alexis Breyer, that there was actually a formal avenue they could take to directly recognize those special staff members who had cared for Amber. 

The Breyers, through the Husband & Wife Law Team, have supported Trauma Services at Chandler Regional since 2020 and sponsor the Dignity Health East Valley Guardian Angel program, which provides patients and their family members an opportunity to recognize a physician, nurse, housekeeper, volunteer, chaplain or other staff member with a thoughtful gift in their honor. The Guardian Angel then receives a custom pin to wear, designating them as a special member of the hospital’s Community of Caring.

The Websters were able to recognize five members of this care team as Guardian Angels, and hope to recognize more.

“Every nurse, doctor and staff member all genuinely cared about Amber and wanted to make sure that she got through this,” Mark said. “It’s hard to think about everything they did without getting choked up. They were there like family.” 

Amber’s story revealed another amazing twist when she learned that the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation therapy, or ECMO, used to provide the prolonged cardiac and respiratory support she needed to sustain her life while hospitalized was purchased just months earlier with generous donations to the Dignity Health Foundation East Valley. The Websters believe that without that modality being available so close to their home Amber would not have survived her emergency.

Amber says her health is now 100 percent and that, other than a few scars, there is no physical trace of the ordeal. They celebrated the one year anniversary of her health over cheeseburgers in the Chandler Regional Medical Center cafeteria recently.

“Not all hospitals are the same,” Mark said. “We are lucky to have this one in our neighborhood. I tell everyone who will listen – you will not find better care anywhere else.” 


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