Darrell Nunn was lifting heavy scouting packs on the banks of the Rideau Canal when he felt a terrible pain in his side.
“I had this searing pain in my abdomen,” explained Darrell. “I got a friend to drive me back as fast as possible to Kemptville District Hospital. I didn’t want to end up at the Ottawa Hospital.”
Ironically, Darrell and his wife Janet Clarke had left their home in Ottawa just 6 months earlier so that they could live a quieter life. They loved everything about Kemptville: the people, the fact that they could do more gardening, and that there was a hospital right in town.
Upon arrival at the Kemptville Emergency Room, Darrell was told by the attending physician “We can’t properly diagnose you here. You’ll have to go by ambulance for a CT scan in the city.”
Kemptville’s emergency room does not have a CT scan onsite. This significantly limits the attending physician’s ability to effectively diagnose patients, especially those like Darrell with severe abdominal pain.
So instead of a trip downstairs in Kemptville hospital, Darrell - now tentatively diagnosed with a perforated ulcer - was shipped by ambulance to Ottawa Hospital for his CT scan. His wife would follow along via car and begin the wait for the CT scan that would ultimately confirm the doctor’s initial diagnosis.
“The poor guy. He was in so much pain that he finally blacked out. And we were waiting in the lineup at Ottawa Hospital for the CT scan. All I could think about was all that toxic fluid leaking out into his abdomen. The wait was excruciating,” explained Janet.
Darrell waited over 10 hours for his diagnostic CT scan. Because he was listed as critical but stable, he kept getting bumped out of the lineup. There had been a shooting that night in Ottawa and there were three gunshot wounds ahead of him.
Darrell was extremely lucky. He spent 7 days in Ottawa Hospital recovering with his wife Janet by his side. Every day she drove the 110-kilometer round trip to visit him.
Today, Darrell is recovered, and back to his active lifestyle. He continues to volunteer as a scout leader for the First Kemptville Scouts.
Once he was fully recovered, Darrell went back to the hospital to thank the doctors for saving his life. “And the doc looked at me,” said Darrell, “and said “No problem at all. We do this all the time.”
Darrell and Janet are both committed to doing their part as donors and advocates to help Kemptville secure their own CT scan. As Janet explains “The whole process was slowed down immensely by the lack of a CT scan. I felt for the physicians as well as the patients.”