Tom Coty

"The Best Care Anywhere"

Tom Coty, Dudley

Kate Coty is a Registered Nurse who knows what it takes to deliver outstanding healthcare. At Harrington, she says her husband, Tom, has received "world- class care in our own backyard, thanks to Doctors. Tom FitzGerald and Christopher Seidler."

In February 2012, Tom, a 47-year-old facilities director at a YMCA, was feeling pressure in his forehead. He thought it was a sinus infection. Then he started vomiting and suspected he had a GI bug.

Kate called Dr. Tai Temple, a hospitalist at Harrington HealthCare System, for medical consultation. (Through her work at Kindred Healthcare, a long-term acute care facility, Kate got to know Dr. Temple and other Harrington physicians who referred patients to her.)

Dr. Temple suggested that Kate and Tom, residents of Dudley, come to the ER at Harrington's Southbridge campus. There, the Cotys met with Dr. Kathleen Finn, who was the attending physician that day. Dr. Finn conducted a thorough exam, including lab work, and the results were negative.

"Tom thought maybe he over-reacted to his head pain," recalls Kate. "But Dr. Finn really listened to us and decided to do a C-Scan."

The result: a 5-6 centimeter mass in Tom's frontal lobe. Immediately, Dr. Finn arranged for Tom's transfer to UMass Memorial in Worcester. The next morning, a neurosurgeon performed an emergency procedure that revealed a glioblastoma, the most aggressive malignant brain tumor.

They Saved His Life in the ER

"If we hadn't gone to Harrington, I fear Tom would have been discharged with the diagnosis of a virus," Kate said. "He would have driven to work, and, given the high risk of seizure, God knows what would have happened. They saved his life!"

The surgery removed 95 percent of the tumor, but Tom needed to undergo radiation and chemotherapy. According to Kate, the clear choice for treatment was The Cancer Center at Harrington, on Harrington's Southbridge campus. She and Tom consulted with another, very well-known cancer treatment center and were told that they agreed with the treatment outlined for Tom at The Cancer Center at Harrington.

In March, Tom started seven weeks of radiation treatments. He was put on Decadron, to reduce swelling in his brain, as well as Temodar, an oral chemotherapy drug. Tom also met with other members of his Harrington medical team: a social worker, a neurologist, and his new Primary Care Physician.

After Tom's first round of treatments ended in May, he received an MRI. Based on the findings, he consulted with his neurosurgeon and Dr. Seidler, who recommended that Tom go on another round of chemo treatments.

Today, Tom is doing well and is clinically stable.

"My husband has endured quite an ordeal, but his care has been tremendous," said Kate. "Doctors FitzGerald and Seidler are not only amazing clinicians but also extremely attentive. The doctors, nurses, and techs take the time to explain things and educate you."

She adds, "When people ask, ‘why don't you go to Worcester or Boston?' I respond, ‘because the care at our community hospital is second to none.'"

Editor's Note: Based on his wife's medical experience, Tom asked that Kate relate his story on his behalf.