"If I have a Medical Emergency in Florida Again, Poinciana Medical Center will be my Hospital of Choice."


Bruce Cotton, 73, woke up from an afternoon nap on New Year's Eve (2016) and noticed his tongue was swollen and had difficulty speaking. He assumed he'd had an allergic reaction to oysters he had eaten the day before. He took some Benadryl but his condition remained the same so he and his wife Catherine decided a trip to the Poinciana Medical Center Emergency Department was in order.

"When we arrived I was examined very quickly and told by the doctor I had two choices - either be put on a ventilator or receive a tracheotomy," said Mr. Cotton. "I quickly chose the ventilator." He spent the next twelve days in the Poinciana Medical Center Intensive Care Unit on a ventilator and sedated while the medical team treated his condition. "I was very sick," he said.

While he was sedated, the physician told his wife that he believed the reaction was not due to food, but rather to a blood pressure medication he'd been taking. It is possible, as people age and their immune system and enzymes change, that they can become allergic to medications they have taken for years. Fortunately for Mr. Cotton, the physician at Poinciana Medical Center recognized the possibility and immediately stopped the medication.

Due to some pre-existing conditions including heart disease and COPD, Mr. Cotton's condition was very serious with complications that included both pneumonia and sepsis. But Mr. Cotton credits his care team's compassion and dedication to their work with saving his life. "They took great care of me," he said. "My nurses, the doctors, respiratory therapist, and physical therapists were outstanding. Everybody there was fabulous. All of the staff were so courteous and supportive of my wife and we both appreciate the kindness shown to our family."

After twelve days on the ventilator and another three to stabilize his condition, Mr. Cotton, an Ontario resident, was ready to be transferred home. It was a complex process because it required air transport for both he and his wife. "My discharge couldn't have gone any better," he said. "My wife was just blown away. It was the most professional situation we have ever seen."

Bruce and Catherine Cotton enjoy their home in Canada and wintering in Central Florida. "Based on my experience, if I have a medical emergency in Florida again, Poinciana Medical Center will be my hospital of choice," he said. "They definitely earned my trust and appreciation for the great care I received."