Eric Fagen and his family

Survival and gratitude

Eric had no idea that an unexpected complication would bring him so close to death.

A brush with death

Eric had no idea that an unexpected complication would bring him so close to death.

At 67, Eric was looking forward to receiving his transuretheral resection of the prostate (TURP) surgery to fix his enlarged prostate. His urologist told him that the surgery wasn’t too invasive and Eric thought he would only be in the hospital for a day or two.

The surgery went well. Eric was in his room recovering. Then, things suddenly took a quick turn for the worse. He began to feel nauseous and his blood pressure plummeted to near fatal levels.  “I didn’t have enough fluid in my body,” says Eric. “There were people around my bed, hanging bags on an IV pole, working to get fluids into me. I remember asking them to call my wife.”

Barely conscious, Eric only remembers bits and pieces of what happened next. “I remember the nurse calling my name. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea how close I was to dying,” he recalls.

In the meantime, Eric’s wife Frances was expecting the call from the hospital to be her husband’s voice letting her know it was time to pick him up.  Instead, it was a Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) staff member telling her to come to the hospital right away.

From ICU to recovery: the road to healing

“When my wife and son arrived at MSH, it wasn’t certain I would survive,” Eric remembers. “They came to see me in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and I was too out of it to open my eyes, but I heard their voices and knew they were by my side.”

Eric’s care team was by his side too. In fact, he credits them with saving his life. “The critical care team did everything right. If not for their quick response, I might not be here today,” he says.

Eric spent three days in the ICU and another eight days on the surgical recovery floor. He recalls receiving tremendous care the entire time. “The team was meticulous for testing everything. They even found a bacterial infection that could have affected my heart if left untreated.”

Thanks to the outstanding care made possible by our MSH donors and their support, Eric made a swift and full recovery. Within three days of being discharged from the hospital, he was able to travel to Pennsylvania to attend his youngest son’s wedding.

“I keep thinking how lucky I am to live so close to MSH,” says Eric. “You can receive the best care but sometimes complications happen. It’s how the staff responds to the unexpected that measures how good they are. My experience showed me the care teams at MSH are top-notch.”

I remember the nurse calling my name. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea how close I was to dying.

Eric Fagen

A second crisis brings Eric back to MSH

Two years later, another crisis reaffirmed Eric’s belief in his community hospital. On Good Friday 2023, he accidentally took too much insulin, resulting in an urgent visit to MSH’s Emergency Department (ED).

“I’m diabetic and take a lot of medication. I wasn’t paying attention and thought my insulin pen was actually my Ozempic pen, which I use to help lower my blood sugar, and ended up accidentally giving myself five times the required dose,” Eric recalls. “I called Poison Control who coordinated with the ED. They knew I was coming and began treating me right away.”

Eric spent 24 hours at MSH, where staff carefully monitored his blood sugar. During that time, he took a video call from his son who shared the wonderful news that he and his wife were expecting their first child (Eric’s eighth grandchild).

Giving back to the Hospital that saved Eric’s life

Today Eric is doing well. He and Frances are proud to give back to the hospital that helped bring a lifetime of care close to home.

“We give a donation to MSH every year,” says Eric. “You never know when you’ll need your hospital. You want to be sure they have the most up-to-date equipment so they can take the best care of you.”

Eric is also grateful to donors like you who give so generously. “Without donations, it makes it difficult for MSH to invest in the resources they need to save lives,” he adds. “Not only did your support help me survive, I’m sure it’s helping many other people, too.”

Eric and Fran Fagen

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