NEWARK, N.J. – As a sales manager for an industrial company, Keno Schuermann, 38, was accustomed to taking business trips. So when he headed to the United States from his native Germany in March 2010 on business, he assumed it would be a standard trip.
By the time the married father of two young children landed at Newark Liberty International Airport with plans of transferring to a South Carolina-bound connecting flight, Schuermann was extremely ill. A deadly bacteria had poisoned his system, causing him to go into septic shock. His organs were rapidly shutting down, and death appeared imminent.
After being rushed to UMDNJ-The University Hospital, Schuermann began a journey that would have him remain in the hospital for nearly a month. His wife, Katja, and a family friend came to the United States just two days after Schuermann became sick and remained with him until they all returned to Germany last April. During their stay, the UMDNJ-The University Hospital’s I Yellow 1-Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Renal Dialysis-D Green Unit, Family Support Team and Social Work Services Department became their family.
On April 18, one year after his illness, the Schuermanns, along with their seven-year-old son, Florian, and five-year-old daughter, Carolin, returned to UMDNJ-The University Hospital to thank the staff for their clinical expertise, as well as the compassion they shared during a very trying time.
Throughout his visit, Schuermann recounted how the tremendous support of the UMDNJ-The University Hospital staff, his wife and friend were the key components of his recovery. “We wanted to say ‘thank you’ to all of them,” said Keno Schuermann. “It’s not like doing it on the phone. We wanted to do it personally.”
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 6,000 students attending the state’s three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.