Lance’s fighting recovery

An older man sits in a wheelchair with a woman and two men standing beside and next to him.
Lance McIntosh with some of his multi-disciplinary team from FSH.
August 24, 2018

It has been a long road to recovery, more than 100 days, but 73-year-old retiree Lance McIntosh is just happy to be alive.

When Lance arrived at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) in early May, he was in a very serious condition. 

He had contracted Staphylococcus Aureus, an infection commonly known as Golden Staph, in his right knee.

While he doesn't remember much about his time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Lance said one vivid memory stuck with him.

"I saw a deep, black hole with a casket at the bottom.  I looked down and thought 'nope'.  The next thing I heard voices, it was the ICU staff telling me to wake up,” he said.

It was this fighting mentality that led to his remarkable recovery in ICU and later in the Orthopaedic Unit, as well as adjusting to his new life as an amputee.

“The infection was in my knee, thigh, surrounding the prosthesis from my hip replacement and in my left shoulder,” he said.

“Despite numerous surgeries and the removal of my prosthesis, the infection in my leg couldn’t be contained.  In order to save my life, my leg was amputated at my hip."

As well as a leg amputation, Lance only has partial use of his right arm.

“I was in a pretty black spot but the staff were amazing, I can't speak highly enough of them.”

FSH Orthogeriatrian and Medical Director Dr Hannah Seymour said the team on Ward 4A felt privileged to be part of Lance’s patient journey.

"Lance and his family have been so committed to working with the entire multi-disciplinary team to get the best outcome,” said Dr Seymour.

“We care for all our patients as a team but it is unusual to have a patient as sick as Lance with such a prolonged stay on our ward.”

The staff on the orthopaedic ward recently held a touching farewell celebration for Lance as he moved from their care to the State Rehabilitation Service. 

Lance said the celebration was an opportunity for him to say thank you.

"It is very unusual to have a send-off.  I got to know all the staff and it was a very emotional time for me.”

“At the end of my speech, I said to them all ‘you're simply the best’ and they are.”

Lance is now working on his rehabilitation.

"I’m doing two gym sessions a day,” he said.

"Hopefully I will be strong enough to go home soon.  I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends.”

Follow South Metropolitan Health Service on Facebook (external site) and keep up to date with all the latest news at Fiona Stanley Hospital.