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AuthorHouse’s Nancy Szakacsy and “Hannah Was Here,” Part Two

Today, AuthorHouse Author’s Digest returns with the second part of our interview with self-published author and first-time contributor, Nancy Szakacsy, M.S. LMFT.

In part one (available here), Nancy told us a little about her background and literary influences. Today, Nancy tells us about the nightmarish series of events that led to her writing her book, Hannah Was Here: D.R.E.S.S. an alarm that must be heard.

Author Nancy Szakacsy

Nancy, please tell us about your book.

Hannah Was Here: D.R.E.S.S. an alarm that must be heard, is a true horrific family love story.  The Szakacsys ( Sa Ka Chee) family found themselves in an inconceivable fight to save their 16-year-old daughter Hannah’s life, after an extreme adverse reaction to a widely prescribed antibiotic acne drug called Minocycline.  Hannah’s experience was described as biblical, as she endured a 102-day struggle on life support.

The Hannah Was Here Foundation began the day no other option presented itself. It is said that 90 percent of what we worry about never happens. I’ll vouch for that. On April 19, 2011, my daughter Hannah’s heart failed while she was sitting in a doctor’s office. After 48 minutes of reviving her at the hospital next door, the team got a pulse and inserted an impella device. She was flown by medicopter to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. When she arrived at Cedars, she had no heart beat or pulse–it had ceased upon entering the helicopter.

Hannah and Samson, her brother

Hannah eventually had fasciotomies, flaying open both her legs; two open heart surgeries; and the loss of all her major organs. She had a BiVAD artificial heart implanted and later removed due to her own heart’s striving for life. She endured hundreds of x-rays, scans, severe starvation, and lost her colon and part of her pancreas. I could add more. Hannah was in and out of consciousness until she died 102 days later, two weeks after her seventeenth birthday.

This mission is for love and the countless other (unknown but not nameless) sons, daughters and adults who passed or lay silently afflicted. None, I pray, are suffering or enduring what Hannah did.

The truth is, at least half of all Americans take one prescription drug. One in six takes three or more. I can hardly keep up. I’m trying to take what I’ve learned and do something good with it, to offer up having been there as a small gift to someone in pain. In some cases, it’s as good as it gets for the giver, that the pain wasn’t for nothing.

Hannah Was Here  should leave you thinking and aware. I hope her story makes you feel everything and wonder if you could have lived it. You certainly could be asked to. These haunting events didn’t have to happen. That is what makes it so hard.

I want to memorialize Hannah truthfully. The contractors gave me the same granite samples for my new kitchen that I’d received for her gravestone. I feel violent. Memorials aren’t just benches or scholarships in someone’s name. Hannah would want more. She would have hoped we learned something, especially if it meant uncovering a hidden bully.

“Big Pharma” is fueled by greed, hiding behind white coat-wearing puppets.I thought you should know what happened to Hannah. I’m trying to keep the light on. All we ever had was love. I’m carrying that with me while I’m still here. The gift to feel is free with every human, even when it hurts… especially then.


We’ll present the conclusion of our interview with Nancy this weekend. Hannah Was Here is available in the AuthorHouse Bookstore.

For more information about Nancy Szakacsy, her book, and DRESS (Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms), please visit her website at

Thank you for visiting Author’s Digest.

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