As Dorothy and John Holden began their Canada Day weekend, never would they have anticipated that John’s mobility – and then his very life – would be threatened.
It was about 10 p.m. on Friday, July 1, 2016, and John, Dorothy, and their 11-year-old son had just sat down to watch a movie at home when John, who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, experienced a grand mal seizure.
Dorothy immediately called 911 and John was taken by ambulance to The Scarborough Hospital’s (TSH) General campus, where he was admitted to the hospital’s Medicine unit on the ninth floor.
By early Sunday morning on July 3, John had begun to lose all movement and sensation in both his legs. Attending physician, Dr. Farid Boutros, ordered an immediate MRI. The scan showed destruction of John’s spine and critical spinal cord compression that was likely caused during John’s seizure.
As Dr. Boutros arranged for an orthopaedic surgeon to operate on John’s back, he began to experience severe urinary retention. Another MRI scan was conducted, which revealed the need for an urgent bladder cystoscope procedure to remove an obstruction that could cause John’s bladder to burst and send him into fatal septic shock.
TSH urologist Dr. Jonathan Chan immediately conducted the cystoscope procedure. Shortly after, TSH orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Grant operated on his back, saving his mobility. Both of John’s scans and surgeries were completed in less than five hours.
Dorothy rates her husband’s care experience as nothing less than “outstanding.”
“The staff here are very informative and always kept us up to date on what we desperately wanted and needed to know,” she said.
John echoes her comments. “Everyone is very helpful and makes you feel comfortable. The longer you stay here, the more you feel like family. And when you’re in a hospital that means quite a lot.”
For Dr. Boutros, each and every one of the staff and physicians involved in John’s care on July 3 “became heroes right before my eyes.”
“We had an incredible group of individuals who went above and beyond by 100 miles for John and his family,” explained Dr. Boutros.
This team included Registered Nurses Lisa Begg, Leticia Ibarra, Michelle Holmes, Lorna Simon, and Roe Yumul, Registered Practical Nurse Cassandra Canales, and Unit Clerk Saliema Ataw.
“The nurses themselves took John down right away for each of his scans and surgeries, while others made sure his wife and son were doing okay. It was incredible,” said Dr. Boutros.
Dr. Boutros also points out that Dr. Chan and Dr. Grant, as well as radiologist Dr. Janice Nazareno who read John’s MRI scans, all provided care on a day when they were not scheduled at the hospital.
“I was just so impressed and I’m truly honoured to be able to work alongside such a talented group of professionals,” said Dr. Boutros.