When Brandon Clark felt the shotgun blast rip through his back, he could hardly believe that it was really happening to him.
“I’ll never forget April 12, 2015,” says Brandon, a resident of Hamilton. “I was with a few friends and we’d gone to one of their houses after a night out. After about five minutes, there was a knock on the door and my friend answered it. A total stranger was standing there with a shotgun. He shot two of us before turning the gun on himself.”
Rushed to Hamilton General Hospital (HGH), Brandon underwent emergency surgery in the Trauma Unit to stop the bleeding and repair his injured pancreas. He had two more surgeries to remove his left kidney, resect his colon and seal his abdominal wall.
“It was a painful recovery because of the surgical work done to my abdomen,” Brandon recalls. “It made me realize how much you use your abdomen in everyday life, such as lifting your legs, getting in and out of bed, and sitting and standing.”
The recovery process was both physically and psychologically challenging for Brandon, who had nightmares about the incident.
“Everyone at HGH was phenomenal and I don’t think I would be here today if it wasn’t for the care I received.”
“It was unreal how amazing the nurses were. They would take the time to talk with me and help me through the difficult times. They really care about their patients.”
Brandon was discharged after five weeks, but an infection of his wound resulted in a fever and necessitated another 10-day stay at HGH.
“It took about a year before I felt like my old self and the incident felt like a thing of the past,” says Brandon. “The experience has changed me for the better and I’m determined not to take anything in life for granted. I’m in better shape than ever, I’m doing more with my life and I’m grateful to be given a second chance at life.”
Inspired to “pay it forward” and support the hospital that helped him, Brandon is proud to be a Patient Ambassador for Strides For The General on September 15, 2018. Proceeds from the event support priority needs at HGH and the Regional Rehabilitation Centre.
“To inspire people to donate to the Foundation, I would remind them of the great work HGH does day in and day out. Everyone at HGH was phenomenal and I don’t think I would be here today if it wasn’t for the care I received.”
For more information or to register, visit hamiltonhealth.ca/strides.