Patient Stories

Stories from Grateful Patients

Listen to your neighbours: incredible work is being done in Dunnville. Read some incredible stories from people who’s lives have been positively impacted by the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital and Edgewater Gardens Long-Term Care Centre.

I had no idea that I only had 4 hours to live when I arrived at the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital

A CT Scanner and fast action saved Nicole’s life when her appendix ruptured.

“I was in pain,” remembers Nicole. “My daughter’s words to me were: you need to go to the hospital. You’re gray and you look like you have multiple babies in your tummy.”

“It was the worst, the most intense pain of my life.”

Watch the YouTube video below to hear how Nicole’s story ends.

It was then that Betty knew she wouldn’t lose her husband, and her children wouldn’t lose their father.

A well-equipped HWMH saved Mike Sawyer’s life not once, but twice, spotting both heart issues and cancer.

Her eyes started to water, and she became very emotional when she was explaining to me how grateful she is to have our hospital in Dunnville.

It was New Years day when Mike and Betty Sawyers were driving back from their grandson’s hockey tournament. For a couple of days Mike wasn’t feeling well and finally her nursing instincts kicked in and Betty insisted he go to the emergency department at HWMH.

That decision saved his life. Mike’s heart was failing.

His heart chambers were not beating in sync and his heart was not pumping blood efficiently to his body. After a thorough exam and with no time to waste, an ambulance was called and along with the attending physician, Dr. Remington, Mike was rushed off to a hospital in the city to have a pacemaker put in.

It was so clear to see the gratitude in Betty’s eyes as she spoke about that day. What she remembers most was the compassion and empathy the entire team in the emergency department at HWMH showed. It wasn’t just about their ability to quickly diagnose the severity of Mike’s medical condition; it was also how swiftly they acted to get him the life saving care he needed. It was then that Betty knew she wouldn’t lose her husband, and her children wouldn’t lose their father.

This is why it is so important to have the medical equipment HWMH needs, so they can continue to save fathers like Mike.

Medical equipment is vital in a small hospital like ours. It allows our entire care team of doctors, nurses and technicians to perform their jobs at the very best of their ability. Remember, donors pay for medical equipment, not the government.

Not only was Mike diagnosed with a heart condition in Dunnville, but the same hospital also found his colon cancer. Because our hospital is well equipped, he was diagnosed and had his surgery to remove the cancer right at home in Dunnville. Betty and their 3 children were able to be by his side the entire time. All because of you.

Mike and Betty have now been married for 59 years. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren! Throughout their adult lives they have depended on our hospital. From the time their youngest child was born, until their last visit to the ophthalmology clinic, HWMH has been a part
of their healthcare journey.

I help raise money for the hospital. But then I needed it as a patient.

The mystery of Penny’s spinal pain was solved using equipment purchased with money from generous donors like you!

It was Christmas time, and I was wrapping gifts when the pain became excruciating. I couldn’t stand and sitting was worse. My back felt like it was broken. I couldn’t find relief and I wasn’t able to see my doctor because of Covid. I turned to the only other place I could, the Emergency Department at Haldimand War Memorial Hospital, and the outcome was the very best I could hope for.

My name is Penny and as the Executive Director of the Dunnville Hospital and Healthcare Foundation, my job is to raise money for HWMH, so they have the best possible equipment to treat every single person who walks through the doors, with the best possible care.

That day I became a patient of the Emergency Department. I dreaded going and having to sit in the waiting room because the discomfort of sitting was more than I could tolerate. But something happened as I was waiting to see the doctor.

I realized how lucky I am to be a part of a community that cares so much and that we have such a great hospital so close to home.

Did you know that equipment like our CT Scanner only has a working life of approximately 10 years? After that, the machine and parts become obsolete and need to be replaced.

Millie was just 4 months old when she got really, really sick.

Proud mother Cheryl shares the story of when Nurse Paul went the extra mile taking care of Millie and family.

We had been in and out of the Dunnville Emergency Department with Millie for weeks. Our baby had had croup. Bronchitis. Rhinovirus. Although the doctors and nurses did everything they could, there’s very little you can do for viral infections. Even so, everyone in the ED went out of their way to keep her comfortable.

Then it happened…

Late one night, as Millie struggled to breastfeed, her breathing changed. She began grunting with every breath. She was still her smiley self, but I knew in my heart something was very wrong. Maybe it’s mother’s intuition, but when something is wrong with your child, you know.

You just know.  

I had to do something. While trying not to panic. I loaded up Millie for the ER. Thankfully, it’s only two minutes from our home.

I was in shock, I could hardly believe it was happening,

Nurse Paul kept me calm when I was in crisis, keeping me informed through every step of this journey. He was there for Millie. And he was there for me! 

It’s a call everyone dreads: “Hello, Dawn, your husband has been in an accident.”

Dawn and Kim Turnbull owe their lives to quick actions at HWMH.

28 years ago, working the family farm, my husband Kim’s foot was caught in a piece of equipment. Losing blood, he was at risk of losing his life. Rushed to the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital, he lost his foot but his life was saved! Because the Hospital was close to home, Kim is alive today. And as lively as ever!

I’m thankful that, as a rural hospital, HWMH was equipped to treat these very kinds of life-threatening injuries that happen when you least expect them but need help the most.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m writing you this letter, not Kim. It’s because I also have a personal story about the HWMH to share…

Last year, on Christmas Eve, I went to have my annual mammogram done at HWMH. A few days later, I was asked to return – something didn’t look right; the radiologist wanted to take a second look. Another mammogram was ordered and an ultrasound, just to be certain.

Another call followed. It was my worst fear: I had breast cancer.

I was able to fight my cancer because of the thoroughness of the healthcare teams at the HWMH.

But the frontline healthcare providers we depend on, are now depending on you.

I walked into the Emerg and said
“I think I’m having a heart attack”

Lisa Hribar’s life was saved by fast action at HWMH

In 2018, I had a heart attack. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.

It was nearing the end of Smile Cookie week, and I was working night and day at Tim Hortons. I was committed to putting as many smiles on people’s faces as I could because the proceeds from the cookies would benefit our local Haldimand War Memorial Hospital and that was my goal. We did it: we sold more than 22,700 cookies… far more than any other Tims in the country!

But the stress of the campaign to be number one in Canada was more than I expected. On Saturday, the stress hit me like a truck. I felt heart palpitations and dizzy. But I worked through it.

Things only got worse. I couldn’t pinpoint what was happening. I thought I had indigestion and nothing I did was helping! I couldn’t stand or sit I needed to take a break.

That evening after being home for a while it wasn’t getting better. I chewed two aspirins and that didn’t make a difference. Now I really knew I needed help. Instead of calling 9-1-1, I drove the 20 minutes to the emergency room in the middle of the night. Yes, I should have called for help, but I wasn’t thinking straight, and the hospital was so, soooooo close.

I can’t stress enough how important having a hospital like the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital is. Having a hospital nearby saved my life. It could save yours, too.

What happened next happens in so many small community hospitals like ours – the doctor and nurses immediately flew into action. They were committed to finding out what was wrong with me, and fast. There wasn’t a moment to spare! An EKG test revealed that I was having a heart attack! The doctor and nurses stabilized me and then an ambulance rushed me to Hamilton General for more advanced care. I know the quick actions of the HWMH care team saved my life.

An image of Lisa, who's life was saved by quick-thinking at HWMH

I can’t stress enough how important having a hospital like the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital is.

Having a hospital nearby saved my life. It could save yours, too.

I only had a ten percent chance of survival. It is truly a miracle that I am still alive.

David Dawson shares his story of surviving a massive stroke.

I could hear myself slurring my words as I talked to Mom on the phone. Something wasn’t right. As I hung up and sat down on the couch, everything familiar was gone. There was a burst of colour, and then, nothing.

When I woke up, desperately gasping for air, my immediate thought was to phone my wife, Brenda. It took several attempts. I had lost most of the use of my arms and hands and my vision was blurred. She called the ambulance, and I was rushed to Haldimand War Memorial Hospital. I had had a stroke.

What happened next is the reason I can write this letter to you today.

I believe without a doubt that emergency room physician Dr. Jeffrey Remington was instrumental in saving my life that day. He took one look at me when I arrived at HWMH and acted quickly. Satisfied that I had been stabilized, he transferred me to the regional stroke centre in Hamilton where they were briefed and waiting for me.

A photo of David smiling in front of his home.

It has been over two years since I had my massive stroke. I was recovering at home when the magnitude of what happened hit me.

I understand now that there could have been an entirely different outcome if we didn’t have our amazing hospital right here.

Inspired to give? Your gifts matter!

If you have a Grateful Patient story, please Contact Us so that we can hear it. Or, make a Grateful Patient gift from yourself or on behalf of a loved one. It’s because of you that we’re able to offer such great health care close to home.

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