My name’s Mel Goodwin and without the expert care at Richmond Hospital, I could have lost both my feet. I am incredibly grateful to be up and walking, and that’s why I want to share my story with you today.
I’ve lived in Richmond since 1952, and spent my lifetime working as an electrical contractor, consultant and project manager worldwide. I didn’t fully retire until I was 82 years young! All of those years wearing steel-toe boots and working in the industry definitely took a toll on my feet. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I had an incident that brought me to Richmond Hospital Emergency two years ago.
I was working long hours on a mining site in Labrador, Newfoundland. The lining in my boots had worn through and one of the toes on my right foot was bleeding. It didn’t look too bad so I just put a bandage on it. After working for 10 hours the next day, my toe was very swollen and had turned yellow. Strangely, I hadn’t felt any pain. The first aid attendant at work told me I had to go home as soon as possible. When I got home, my wife Barbara took me straight to Emergency at Richmond Hospital.
The fast, expert care I received at Richmond Hospital’s 24/7 Emergency saved my feet from a dangerous infection. It was possible thanks to support from donors like you.
Gifts from the community help to ensure that Richmond Hospital’s quality care is available when we need it most. Would you please consider a gift today so that, when an unexpected emergency hits, more people like me can receive lifesaving medical care at Richmond Hospital?
At the hospital, Dr. Jerry Vortel assessed my feet and discovered I had a bad infection that could spread if it wasn’t dealt with quickly. He ordered an immediate intravenous of antibiotics. The infection was aggressive. Over the next few weeks, I had to go for an IV treatment every morning.
Even though the swelling went down, they discovered that the infection had moved into the bones of my little toe. This was very serious but thankfully one of the hospital’s orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Erik Calvert, was able to get me in for surgery right away. To this day, I count my blessings that they were able to treat me so quickly and I only lost one toe.
Without the diligent care of Richmond Hospital’s doctors and nurses, the fast-moving infection could have caused me to lose my entire foot and I would have lost my ability to get around on my own.
After the amputation, everything seemed fine until a few months later, I noticed another toe swelling on my right foot as a result of a blister from my shoes. Soon, I was back in the hospital again getting IV treatments for another aggressive infection. I confessed to Dr. Vortel that I had been walking barefoot in our garage when I noticed blood on the concrete—I had stepped on a small piece of glass but didn’t feel anything at all.
Dr. Vortel knew something more serious was going on and referred me to Richmond Hospital’s neurologist, Dr. Michael Varelas. After a series of x-rays, CT scans, and blood tests they discovered that I have Peripheral Neuropathy, which impairs sensation and movement.
Having an accurate diagnosis was an incredible relief. It explained why I hadn’t been feeling foot pain that would have warned me of infections earlier on. The doctors carefully explained the effects of neuropathy and helped me adjust my lifestyle accordingly. I have learned to watch my feet carefully and be more aware of my surroundings.
As I’ve gotten older, I am naturally experiencing more medical concerns—as we all will at some point— and I am so thankful that Richmond Hospital is here for me. The situation with my feet had gotten very serious and I was afraid the infections would lead to more amputations. I feel so blessed to have come out of it able to walk. In addition to my foot treatments and surgeries at Richmond Hospital, I’ve had two cancerous growths removed from my face and a hernia surgery. The kindness and professionalism at Richmond Hospital has always been a source of strength during these challenging experiences.
Now that I’m back on my feet, my wife, Barbara and I are looking forward to taking a cruise together, where I plan to dance with her until we can’t dance anymore! I have personally experienced how vital it is for our growing and aging population to receive high quality medical care. I hope you will consider giving today so that more of our neighbours can receive quality care when they need it most.
Supporter of Richmond Hospital Foundation
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