HHS staff helps to miraculously save boy who was trapped in freezing pond

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On November 12, 2006, Nate Taylor, 18, almost lost his life. While cleaning out an overflow grate in a giant farm pond near Paris, Ont. Ð a task he and his uncle have done many times. Nate’s leg was suctioned to the grate that covered the overflow pipe. Dozens of heroic rescuers risked their own safety that day, taking turns for several hours submerging themselves into the icy waters to keep Nate alive. Once rescued from the pond, Nate was transferred by helicopter to Hamilton General Hospital where a team of innovative and extraordinary staff continued to save his life.

When Nate arrived in the Emergency Department his body temperature was just 19 degrees Celsius, well below the point where many others die, and his heart stopped. The Trauma Team began CPR and Nate was rushed to the Operating Room where he was placed on a heart-lung machine. The machine warmed his blood and, two hours later, his heart began to beat on its own again. Remarkably, Nate recovered with no brain damage and with full use of his leg.

On Thursday, January 26, only ten short weeks after Nate’s near death accident, Hamilton General Hospital hosted a reception on Nate’s behalf, giving him an opportunity to thank everyone involved in his rescue one more time. “Thank You” were the words he kept repeating to the dozens of EMS while barely conscious in the pond, and they were his first words when he regained consciousness in the hospital.

Many of his rescuers and caregivers introduced themselves, explaining what part of his team they were from. Physicians, surgeons, nurses, therapists, technicians, technologists, perfusionists, and anesthesiologists from departments including Emergency, Trauma, Operating Room, ICU, Burn Unit, Cardiology, Physiotherapy, Diagnostics, Plastics, and Orthopedics, as well as the Fire Department, Police Department, and Ambulance were in attendance.

“I am proud of what our team was able to do for Nate,” said Dr. Kevin Teoh, head of Cardiac Surgery at Hamilton Health Sciences. “Their fast action and dedicated efforts made all the difference. It was a great save and we’re just delighted that Nate is doing so well.”

In his touching address, Nate thanked everyone involved in his rescue. “You believed in a miracle and made a miracle happen.” He started with his Uncle Ken, who was by his side through everything, the EMS who never gave up, the surgeons he called his angels, the nurses for their kindness and encouragement, the hospital for making his family feel comfortable during his stay, and his family. “I love you,” he said. He thanked everyone for “a second chance at life, one I will never waste.”

Nate is now back to school and looking forward to starting his co-op placement this semester with the Brantford Police Department. He is completing his applications for college to follow his dream of becoming a police officer.