Why I give

01.18.2017

Everyone has their own reasons for supporting the Bayhealth Foundation. But the common thread is often the excellent care that they or someone they love received at Bayhealth.

Donald is tall and lean, with bright blue eyes and salt-and-pepper hair. The former software engineer and educator keeps active by playing racket sports, rowing on Dover’s Silver Lake, and hosting regular Scrabble meetings.

In November 2014, while Donald was working in the college computer lab, he noticed a mild stomach ache. The pain worsened steadily until, four hours later, he knew he had to get help. He drove himself to Bayhealth Kent General’s Emergency Department (ED). By then, his pain was so severe that he recalls (not so proudly) lying on the floor, moaning loudly enough to feel he was making a scene.

ED staff promptly ordered a test that showed Donald had a severe bowel obstruction and peritonitis, which can cause organ failure and death. The caregivers at Bayhealth knew that Donald required surgery to clear the blockage.

Dr. Wendy Newell was on surgical duty that evening. “I remember Donald well,” she said. “He was in so much pain. I’m really pleased at how the ED staff treated him as a priority.” Dr. Newell and the staff prepped Donald for immediate surgery.

“All I remember is waking up very comfortably the next morning,” said Donald. He muses that the hospital’s anesthetics must be “good stuff.” Dr. Newell and her team had removed a portion of Donald’s small intestine and cleared his bowel obstruction. The surgery saved Donald’s life.

For more than a week Donald was in recovery at Bayhealth. Recovering from this type of surgery is never fun, of course, but Donald experienced added difficulties, including what he calls a monster case of hiccups. “Hiccups are annoying to begin with, and I had them for eleven days,” he explained. “And try having hiccups after intestinal surgery!” Despite his bumpy recovery, Donald’s sense of humor remained intact. He spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, and later told his friends, “You had a nice turkey dinner for Thanksgiving; I had ice chips!”

Donald knows that his life was spared because of Dr. Newell and the Bayhealth ED, and for that he is extremely grateful. Several months later, he reached out to the Bayhealth Foundation to find a way to express his thanks with a donation. Specifically, he wanted to help with the bills of young patients, not fully covered by health insurance, coming through life-threatening illnesses or accidents. Donald’s generous gift to the Grateful Patient Fund will help do just that.

The Bayhealth Foundation arranged for Donald to receive a plaque in honor of his gift, to be displayed in the “C” Bay of the Emergency Department at Kent General. Donald was surprised by the gesture; he had made his donation without considering it might warrant this kind of attention. That’s why Donald’s one-of-a-kind plaque simply states:

Donald is one of many Bayhealth patients who decided to give because their lives were changed by the care they received. “I’m not rich by anyone’s measure,” said Donald, “But the money will be doing a whole lot more good now than if it was sitting in some bank account.”

Thanks to Donald, and to hundreds like him, for supporting Bayhealth.



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