Patient thanks medical staff with banner plane
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A man who was injured when he fell from a horse took to the skies to give thanks to the medical staff who saved him.
Don Donaguer paid for a plane to circle Memorial Regional Hospital Friday afternoon in order to tell the people who took care of him exactly how he felt. The banner the plane displayed read, "Dr. Daniel Chan is the man! Thanks Memorial Staff, Don."
Donaguer was taken to the hospital on Feb. 15, the day after he returned from a Valentine's Day vacation in the Cayman Islands. "We were having a great time, we were riding these horses," recalled Lydia, the patient's wife. Donaguer, regarded by loved ones as "quite the jokester," had the day all planned out, and even had a floral arrangement delivered to Lydia in their suite.
Donaguer said his fall altered the day's plans. "It's my big day of the year, and the wife said, 'No rain check.' ... You know what I'm talking about," he said.
According to Lydia, the horse Don was riding "got a little excited, and Don, down he went."
Donaguer said he suffered a nasty fall. "I was in shock that it happened," he said. "I hit [the ground]. I had a concussion. They threw me on a pickup truck on the beach."
Donaguer arrived at Memorial Regional the next day. Luckily for the patient, his injuries were the specialty of Dr. Daniel Chan, an orthopedic trauma surgeon. "He had a substantial pelvic fracture," said the doctor. "He was stable, but it was obvious he needed some kind of surgery to restore the alignment and stability of his pelvis, so he could walk again," he continued.
Dr. Chan used screws and plates to put Donaguer back together. "When I came out of surgery and I woke up, I was, like, 'Dr. Chan is the man!' I mean, I was screaming, I was happy to be alive [because] you're in this position where you just don't know," he said.
To express his appreciation, Donaguer came up with the idea of a plane banner. Dr. Chan said his reaction to it was "quite a shock when Don told me he was going to do that."
"I'm showing my gratitude," added Donaguer. "I'm so thankful. I'm so grateful, to the hospital, to Dr. Chan."
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