David McIsaac – Fort Augustus, PEI

DaveIt was meant to be a casual Sunday drive to visit friends, for Fort Augustus resident David McIsaac.

His ten year old son Josh almost accompanied him that day, but thankfully he remained at home with his mother, Patti Shea, and his 16 year old sister, Emily. For David, that Sunday drive became a near catastrophe.

That Sunday, David’s truck was struck by an oncoming vehicle. He would have been trapped inside when the truck exploded, except for the quick action taken by four complete strangers who pulled him through the roof of his burning vehicle and laid him safely on the roadside. Within minutes, he was rushed by ambulance to the Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

With the emergency helicopter on standby, QEH physicians and staff in the ER trauma centre provided immediate attention to his extensive injuries. Once stabilized, specialists on duty that evening were confident they could treat David’s injuries at the QEH.

“We were terrified that if he had to leave the Island, we might never see him again,” recalls his wife Patti. “It was a great relief for us when we heard David would remain, and be cared for, at home on PEI.”

Two surgical teams worked simultaneously for over eight hours to save David’s life. David and his family are particularly grateful to Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. John Campbell and ENT Specialist Dr. Michael Fong; at the same time that Dr. Campbell and his orthopedic team were putting his legs back together, Dr. Fong and his surgical team were re-attaching David’s ear and stitching up the many critical gashes on his face.

Following his successful operations, David was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit where life support equipment provided him with 24-hour care and careful monitoring of his condition. He remained in the ICU for almost two weeks.

As his condition improved, David was then transferred to Orthropedics on Unit 1 and later to the QEH’s Provincial Rehabilitation Unit where teams of physical and occupational therapists became his caregivers and helped him on his long road to recovery.

Although he has no memory of the accident, David appreciates the care he received during his nine-week stay in hospital.

“With my age and having a young family, I believe staff went beyond to encourage and help me recover,” says David. “I’ll always be thankful to Dr. Fong and Dr. Campbell and their teams of professionals who put me back together. They were amazing.”

David’s wife Patti recalls every moment of her husband’s hospital stay, as she spent almost the entire time at his side. Patti calls the QEH staff a ‘little family’.

“From the cleaning staff, to the commissionaires, every doctor and nurse; you get to know everyone, and they were all just as concerned about me and my family as they were with David. It was total family care,” affectionately says Patti.

Amazingly, David has made huge mobility improvements since his stay at the QEH, and is now able to walk and drive again. With physiotherapy trips three times a week, and massage therapy and occupational therapy once a week, he finds himself either at or driving past the hospital on a regular basis.

“The QEH was there when I needed it,” concludes David. “I am forever grateful to everyone who helped save my life.”