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A visionary gift

Joan Shellnutt, mother of patient David Shellnutt, tells the story of how St. Michael’s saved her son’s life and why she wants to give back.

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A visionary gift

At 3 a.m. on January 1, 2019, I received a call from a friend of my son telling me that David had been involved in a terrible assault and was being rushed to St Michael’s Hospital. When I got to the hospital, David was in surgery. Time was a blur, but when the surgery was over, Dr. Julian Spears, the head of neurosurgery who operated on David, came and spoke to me. He explained the surgery and told me that it was life-threatening and David might not survive. My world felt like it was shattering around me. David remained in a coma for days and was in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care unit for over a week. He slowly began to make progress because of the amazing care he received, and his own determination.

David’s brother flew in from B.C. and we were at the hospital with David every day until he was discharged six weeks later. We were able to see the remarkable and dedicated group of people caring for him. That includes the incredible skills of Dr. Spears and his team, as well as Dr. Murphy and his team, who operated on David’s smashed jaw, the ICU staff, nurses, physiotherapists, and many others. Everyone was so attentive, kind, encouraging, considerate, supportive and genuinely caring. We are so appreciative of all that was done for David and our family.

St Michael’s Hospital saved my son’s life. I felt that by supporting the Foundation, another family whose son or daughter is fighting for their life will be as fortunate as our family was because of the care we received from St Michael’s Hospital. Read more about David’s story.


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