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Thursday, March 29, 2012

UPDATE - A Personal Visit with Kevin O'Toole - Week 5

BY: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

To provide this week’s update I had the privilege of visiting and spending some time with Kevin O’Toole at Medstar Washington Hospital Center on Thursday.  Kevin had just completed a physical therapy session and was sore and in obvious pain.  Joining us were Jane O’Toole, Kevin’s mother, and Fire Captain Charles Flinn.  Kevin was moved to a step down unit on the third floor last week, which makes it easier for visitors to stop in and see him.

Kevin O'Toole on Thursday, March 29.
Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin O’Toole was injured with six other firefighters as they battled a house fire in Riverdale on February 24.  Kevin sustained burns over a large portion of his body and has been in the Burn Unit since the night of the incident.

I asked Kevin if there was a message I could convey for him and he quickly responded, “Yes, I’m 21 not 22 years old.”  Easy enough, consider that done.  He also reiterated what one of the Burn Unit Doctors told him, ‘You may be out of the ICU but you are not out of the woods yet.’  “I’m forever grateful for the prayers,” stated Kevin.  “Please continue to pray as I need your support.” 

The start of week 5 in the hospital will include an eighth surgery on Friday.  Once released, Kevin said he is looking forward to spending time back home in Bethpage, NY, where he will participate in outpatient physical therapy.  He is also looking forward to attending the concert of one of his favorite performers, Kenny Chesney, at Fed Ex Field on August 12.

Kevin’s room, 3 East 322, is decorated with photos, cards, hand-written notes and fire department patches.  Jane O’Toole stated that we were only seeing about ¼ of the well wishes that had been sent to Kevin.  He reads each and every card sent to him and often rereads them.  The Zac Brown Band and Bucky Covington wrote personal notes to Kevin and included autographed items, which elevated Kevin’s spirits and morale last week.  “When I receive cards and read all the well wishes on FACEBOOK, it makes me feel incredible,” Kevin said.  “I have recently started collecting fire department patches and posting them on my hospital room wall, often times it is the little things that are the highlight of my day.”

Spending time recovering in the hospital is a long process with many hours spent passing the time in between doctor visits, surgeries and physical therapy.  Kevin spoke of his "mental strength" and how it does him good to receive cards and visit with family, friends and co-workers.

I encourage everyone and anyone to take the time and send Kevin a card, patch or FACEBOOOK post.

If sending a note or a fire department patch can be the highlight of Kevin’s Day and if these gestures make him feel incredible, than lets get this done.  Send a card or note, post on his wall, send a patch for his hospital room wall and visit him.

Patient  - Kevin O’Toole
MEDSTAR at Washington Hospital Center
Room 3 East 332
110 Irving Street NW
Washington, DC  20010

- OR -

Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin O’Toole
c/o Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.
4213 Edmonston Road
Bladensburg, MD 20710

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