It's Personal

Harold Elsie

Harold Elsie doesn’t remember much after he was admitted to the Emergency Room (ER) at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH).  But Evelyn, his wife of 52 years, sure does.Evelyn remembers saying goodbye in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), moments before doctors put Harold into a medically-induced coma. “I’ll see you soon,” Evelyn promised. 
 
The truth is Evelyn didn’t know if she’d see her husband alive again. In less than 48 hours, Harold’s situation had become critical. He was in septic shock. His organs were shutting down.   And his arm was three times its normal size and covered in blisters. As doctors at OTMH soon discovered, Harold was suffering from Group A Streptococcus Infection, more commonly known as Flesh Eating Disease.
 
Right after Evelyn and Harold said their goodbyes, Dr. Christopher Assad, plastic surgeon, took over, performing surgery right there in the ICU. “There wasn’t time to move Harold into the operating room. He was too sick,” recalls Evelyn.Dr. Assad had been summoned to the hospital at 2:00 in the morning and he had to act fast – relieving the pressure in Harold’s arm and draining the deadly infection before it killed him. It was Harold’s only hope. The only way to save his life and his limb.
 
It’s a remarkable story – like something you’d see on television.  But this is real life.  And what’s truly amazing is that thanks to the generosity of people like you, Harold got the life-saving care he urgently needed at his own community hospital. 
 
After emergency surgery, Harold lay in his induced coma for seven agonizing days.  He hung onto life but just barely.  On at least two occasions, Harold came within minutes of dying. Meanwhile, Evelyn, son Jeff and daughter Sandra took turns keeping vigil at Harold’s bedside. And while our talented team of doctors and nurses cared for Harold, they also took time to care for his family. Making sure they had all of the support and information they needed.
 
“The care I received was first class. In both the ER and the ICU, they had the urgency, determination and skill level to deal with a critical situation,” says Harold. This is only possible with the help of donors like you and Harold, who has been a supporter for 15 consecutive years. “People tell me this was a miracle and that may be true,” Harold says. “But I know I’m only alive because of OTMH’s professional team and because I had access to the best care there is.”