A Small Cut Becomes a Battle for Life Itself

How did it get to this? Tashmina and Clive Hall of Carlisle wondered as they sat beside their eight-year-old son Isaac in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of McMaster Children’s Hospital in 2011. Due to a serious infection, Isaac was dangerously close to losing his foot – and a lot more.

Isaac Hall

Isaac Hall

Since we last brought you his story in 2011, Isaac and his family continue to face unforeseen medical twists and turns. But as Tashmina explains, “Isaac won’t let anything get in his way as he lives life to the fullest. Whether it’s playing with his brother, swimming competitively or continuing to excel as an accomplished pianist, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down.”

Isaac’s outlook wasn’t always so positive. His experience at McMaster Children’s Hospital began after he cut his foot while playing outside. The small cut became infected over the next few days and Isaac was in excruciating pain from the swelling, so his parents took him to their community hospital.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the physician called an ambulance to transfer him to the Pediatric Emergency Department at McMaster Children’s Hospital, where he was immediately admitted. Isaac’s health was already compromised.  He was on immuno-suppressants due to a pre-existing condition which made the infection raging through his body even more serious.

Isaac was moved from the ER to a patient room for observation, as his condition worsened. Isaac’s organs were at risk as the infection spread. An attending nurse noticed his plummeting blood pressure and hit the button for the emergency response team.

After tests it was determined that he needed emergency surgery. He was too unstable to move to an operating room, so a makeshift OR was created under sterile conditions in the PICU, a situation that had never happened before at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

“We were so afraid of losing him,” recalls Tashmina. “He was so sick.”

Isaac was intubated and placed on a ventilator. Surgeons made an incision in his foot and drained the fluid to reduce the pressure. With continued around-the clock-medical care, including a blood transfusion, his condition improved to a point where amputation was no longer necessary.

Thanks to the amazing team at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Isaac and his foot pulled through.  After a month in hospital, the infection was gone, his foot began to heal and he was finally discharged.  Some post-surgical visits were needed just for follow-up.

Isaac’s pre-existing immune system disorder makes him more susceptible to viruses and infections. Whenever Isaac had a respiratory infection or a fever, his foot would have another flare up.

“For some reason, his immune system has been targeting his foot, the original point of trauma, in the form of vasculitis,” says Tashmina.

After further treatment in the care of his other great specialists, this has been brought under control and Isaac continues his healing journey.

The team at McMaster Children’s Hospital saved Isaac’s life, and it brings comfort to Tashmina and Clive knowing that these medical specialists will be there to help Isaac should the need arise again.

“It was truly amazing to be surrounded by people who will do their best for your child, and we are forever thankful.”