James Gary Beach spent one month walking around with a ruptured appendix — he’d be dead if the Queensway Carleton Hospital staff hadn’t diagnosed him and saved his life.
“I’ve always thought of this as my hospital. I’ve always thought that the care level was great,” said Beach.
“I’d like to call it an uncommon level of excellence. That’s the best way I can put it.”
Years later, the 69-year-old Nepean businessman is donating $5 million to the Queensway Carleton Hospital and its Care Grows West campaign.
To honour his donation, the $126-million, four-storey wing under construction will be called the James Beach Health Care Centre.
The new wing includes operating rooms, endoscopy suites, enhanced ambulatory programs and facilities, and expanded dialysis stations.
“Our community needs this care, and more importantly, they deserve it,” said Gerry A. Barker, chair of the QCH board of directors.
The announcement was made at the QCH Thursday, where Beach shared his story.
Beach was in so much pain, he left his cottage in Quebec and had a neighbour drive him to the nearest hospital.
“(I) spent the day in agony with a high, high fever. Sick, sick, sick. Well nobody could figure out what was wrong and they finally said, ‘look you can go home. If you get worse, come back’,” said Beach.
So he went home and “I didn’t get any worse, because I was as bad as you can get.”
His next door neighbour was a doctor at the QCH.
The doctor took one look at Beach and told him they were going to the hospital.
“And I believe, from the time I was in my bed til the time I was on the operating table, it was less than 25 minutes. It was really amazing,” said Beach.
He had peritonitis, a bacterial/fungal infection in the stomach.
“I was probably in the final stages of dying.”
Beach’s father, also named James, died at the hospital, where he spent his last year.
The family business — which goes back three generations — includes building construction and property management.
“I’ve been coming to this hospital since I was probably five years old and I know we’re probably going to get married and have kids in the hospital someday. So I think it’ll be really neat,” said son James Michael Beach.
The wing is slated to open in 2012.