Grateful Patient: Jerry Bekendam, Emergency / Surgical ServicesJerry Bekendam

While some people can go almost their whole life without having to access the hospital for a health crisis, when they do, it’s comforting to know professional, quality care is available when they need it.

Jerry Bekendam hadn’t been to the Emergency Department as long as he could remember, but then he had two emergency visits to The Brantford General within a month early in 2015.

“I don’t ever remember being in the Emergency Department,” he said. “Then I was doing renovations and in a careless moment, I cut halfway through my index finger on my left hand with a Skil saw.”

Jerry arrived at the hospital and said it only took about three hours to assess his condition, plan his treatment and to temporarily secure his finger.

Two days later, he saw Dr. Demetrios Drakos for the surgery to repair the wound permanently.

“Everyone was professional and friendly,” he said. “I had a very positive experience.”

At first Jerry wasn’t able to move his finger, but after continually exercising his finger and follow-up visits, there was little indication of the original injury.

“Let’s face it,” he said. “Thirty years ago or so, I might have lost it.”

Exactly one month later, Jerry had to return to The Brantford General Emergency Department, but this time his wife drove him. Jerry was on his way out for the day when he experienced a transient ischemic attack, or mini stroke, that caused immediate – and permanent – blindness in his left eye.

“I didn’t have to wait at all,” he said, adding that emergency department staff took action immediately to treat him.

The quick action was required to determine whether Jerry’s incident warranted the “clot busting” treatment – a special drug that must be administered by qualified individuals within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

Brantford General Hospital is a designated District Stroke Centre under the Ontario Stroke Strategy. Medical professionals are specially trained in stroke care and provide coordinated stroke services based on best practices and evidence to the communities of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties.

After Jerry’s initial treatment, he had several appointments and further tests with a stroke specialist who determined his episode was caused by increased blood pressure that resulted in a “micro burst” behind his eye. He learned that the odds of the same thing happening to his other eye are slim, but not impossible; so he maintains his regimen of blood pressure medication and low dose Aspirin.

No one can tell by looking at him that Jerry has no vision in his eye, and he has not let it impact his otherwise active lifestyle.

“Now I make a joke, I literally keep an eye on the ball when I’m playing golf,” he laughed.

Jerry says that we’re fortunate to have a good local hospital and is thankful for the medical professionals that were there in his time of need.

“I’m grateful for the care I received,” says Jerry, “but I hope I don’t have to come for another 40 years.”

The equipment supported by donor dollars isn’t all ‘nice to have’—it is critical, much-needed medical equipment required to perform daily diagnostics and care for patients.

As Jerry has learned first-hand, when crisis or illness impacts you or a loved one, the Brant Community Healthcare System is here to offer you exceptional healthcare in your time of need.

Your involvement, through a donation of any size, will allow the BCHS Foundation to purchase patient equipment not funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provide essential resources to maintain the exceptional level of compassionate patient care, and invest in new and innovative technology.

To make a donation, click here or call 519-751-5510.

This holiday season, give a gift that could save a life and be a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.

Photo above: Jerry Bekendam