Family learns first-hand about a local hospital's national rank - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Family learns first-hand about a local hospital's national standing

Updated:
Matt Tamburri Matt Tamburri
Richard and Matt Tamburri Richard and Matt Tamburri

By Victoria Hansen
vhansen@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's one of those places you hope you never need, but if you do, it's good to know it's close.

MUSC Children's Hospital was once again ranked as one of the top 20 hospitals in the nation for children's heart and pediatric gastroenterology programs by U.S. News Media Group's 2012-2013 edition of America's Best Children's Hospitals.

But you don't have to tell the Tamburri family of New Jersey.  They already know.

"We lived a nightmare and came out on the other side," said Richard Tamburri.   His son collapsed at Marion Square Easter weekend.

"The call we got from the emergency tech, we thought he died,"  said Tamburri.  "They said sir if you're driving the car you need to pull over."

Richard Tamburri and his family had just left his 19 year old son Matt, after visiting him at the College of Charleston where he was finishing his freshman year.

"When we decided to let Matthew attend the College of Charleston, one of the first things we did was ask about the quality of medical care in the city," said Tamburri.  

"We never dreamed in a million years that the doctors and nurses at MUSC and MUSC Children's Hospital would end up saving our son's life."

Matt was born with a congenital heart defect.  Since birth, he had received some of the finest care Philadelphia area hospitals could offer.

"When we left him, he was going to throw a football with friends.  He collapsed right in the middle of Marion Square and went into full cardiac arrest," said his father.

Fortunately for Matt, he was with friends.  There was also a Citadel cadet nearby who performed CPR.

"By the time he got to Matt, his lips were blue and his skin was grayish in color."

Then the ambulance arrived.

"He never came to.  They didn't know if he was going to make it."

The 19-year-old was in a chemically induced coma at MUSC for five days.  

"We didn't know what was going to happen.  They were cautiously optimistic, but couldn't tell us yes or no."

Matt spent weeks at MUSC, much of the time in the children's hospital.  There he underwent two surgeries.  The first repaired the hole doctors found in his heart.  The other secured a pace maker and defibrillator in the teenager's chest.

"It's an absolute miracle.  Not that many kids collapse like that and get a second chance."

Matt is now back at home in New Jersey enjoying his summer at the Jersey Shore.  But he will be back in the fall to start his sophomore year.

His family, as you can imagine, is grateful.  They're not at all surprised by the hospital's national standing. They counted on it.  Their son's life depended on it.  They recently wrote MUSC a letter.

"When we were at our lowest of lows you were there to comfort us, a stranger from afar who had never met us, and as Matt made his miraculous recovery you were there again to share our joy.  When we met you we were strangers, when we left we were friends.  Your kindness and warmth will forever be remembered."

Words that just may mean more than any number or ranking.


  • Victoria Hansen

    Email: vhansen@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile




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