By Jason Allington
Rush saved my father from certain death and made a horrific situation not only tolerable, but inspiring.
I live in Oak Park. Over the holidays, my 76-year-old dad, George Allington, came to visit from South Carolina. On the evening of Dec. 29, we were watching TV together when he took a bathroom break. A few minutes later, he called in distress, because he’d passed a frightening amount of blood.
We called 911, and the paramedics rushed him to the Rush Oak Park Hospital emergency room.
When I got to the ER after them, I could see that the doctors and nurse were on top of their game and doing everything they could. People were swarming around him.
Severe blood loss
They kept pumping blood into him, and he kept losing it. It took the ER team 12 hours to stop the bleeding, and he lost more than a body’s worth of blood in that 12 hours. If this had happened on the plane, in the car, or even maybe at home, he wouldn’t have gotten the care, and he would have bled out in half an hour.
That whole time, he never lost consciousness. He was cracking jokes. He’s an irreparable flirt, so he was taking up the nurses and the doctors.
It turns out he had asymptomatic diverticulitis (pouches in the colon that become infected or inflamed) and arterial colonic bleeding. A bunch of diverticuli erupted at the same time.
After dad spent a couple of days in the intensive care unit, a surgeon performed a total colectomy (removal of the entire colon). It was a complete success. The only thing he worried about in the ER was having to use a colostomy bag, but the surgery didn’t require one.
‘Lucky he was here’
It took Dad a solid 10 days to get well enough to eat and walk. He felt like a prince the whole time. I think he had a better time at Rush than he did at home. Every day we visited, he would rave about the extraordinary care he received.
He interacted with more than 100 people at the hospital and there wasn’t a single one who wasn’t positive, helpful, kind. What really struck me was him saying that the custodial staff cleaning the room were positive and sweet and would do anything for him.
The staff communicated clearly and kept us up to speed on the ever-changing action plan. I’ve never seen a more cohesive, positive and capable team. They made his stay as comfortable as possible and kept his mood up during the worst health scare of his life.
Too seldom do the great works of health care providers get recognized. Thank you to the dozens of caregivers at Rush Oak Park Hospital for saving my dad’s life and setting him on the road to recovery. He is lucky he was here when this happened. I don’t think the outcome would have been better anywhere else.