Quincy Resident Finds Quality of Care to be the Secret Ingredient to Recovery


Donald Hess of Quincy, IL can only remember needing to stay in a hospital twice in his life. They weren’t very severe or memorable events, but that all changed on April 6, 2023 when he fell off the top of his vehicle while waxing it.

Don was able to get up on his own even though he was in a considerable amount of pain. He decided to go to a local walk-in clinic to make sure everything was okay. At the walk-in clinic he was assured everything looked fine and that his pain would get better with time. By the next day, the pain had increased to a level that he knew there was something terribly wrong, so he went to the nearest Emergency Room.
The hospital discovered that Don had an inoperable complete fracture in his back. He was admitted to the hospital and after a few days, he was moved to a rehab floor. His pain was increasing and so too was the amount of pain medication he was given. “Those weeks were pretty blurry, I was so drugged up I didn’t really know what was going on,” Don describes. The entire time Donald’s wife Pauline was constantly by his side. Things weren’t going well, to say the least. Pauline recalls, “He wasn’t getting better, we couldn’t get answers to any of our questions, it just wasn’t an environment conducive to healing.”

After a couple of weeks Don’s condition had not shown any improvement, and it had actually gotten worse. “He was starting to deteriorate to the point we were worried that he might be close to death.” That was when Pauline decided to take matters into her own hands, and checked Donald out of the hospital.
Pauline arranged for Donald to be brought to the Hannibal Regional Emergency Department by ambulance. When he arrived he was completely disoriented, confused and in an excruciating amount of pain. Donald was transferred to the Step-Down Unit at Hannibal Regional Hospital. The Step-Down Unit is designed to provide an intermediate level of care between the level of an intensive care unit and a regular in-patient unit. Within 24 hours Don and his family said that they saw a 100% difference in the state of his condition. After just over a week in the Step-Down Unit, all of Donald’s concerning issues such as uncontrolled blood pressure, a urinary tract infection and pain, were stabilized. “Getting those things taken care of first seemed to be what was needed for me to really start healing,” says Don.

The next step in Donald’s journey was moving to inpatient rehabilitation. “I cannot believe the level of expertise and professionalism I have seen from the doctors and nurses on each floor I have been on. Not only that, but they have a sense of humor and make the day fun too. That has made such a difference in my mental state and how I have been able to recover so well here,” shares Donald.

Donald has noticed that it’s not just the doctors and nursing staff that take good care of the patients. He explains, “My TV quit working and I mentioned it to the nurse, 15 minutes later someone from maintenance was in my room looking at it. They decided I needed a new TV and right then and there got it replaced. At one point there were five guys in here making sure I had a working TV.” Donald continues, “Even the food is good, who ever heard of good food in a hospital?”

“It wasn’t until we came to Hannibal Regional that we realized what a hospital could be!” says Donald. He says the level of care and empathy he received made all the difference in his recovery. “The nurses and doctors were concerned, caring and really paid attention to us. You just get the sense that they really want you to get better,” says Donald. “I am so thankful that we have Hannibal Regional as a choice for care in our area.”