Terry Banks’s Story

Back pain by itself can be debilitating. For Terry Banks of Port Moody, a nagging lower back sprain was only the start of his problems. By the time he made his way to Royal Columbian Hospital’s emergency department weeks later, he was struggling with a number of complications. Now shivering and desperate for help, Terry wondered what was happening to him.
Terry Banks, performing on stage with his band Flashback.

“Originally, the pain felt like it was on the lower left side of my back,” recalls Terry about the start of his troubles, which he attributes to some heavy pulling at work. “As all these other symptoms started to come along, the pain sort of shifted over to more of the middle of my lower back. It felt like my intestines were being twisted.”

Over a number of weeks, his symptoms included constipation, frequent urination, elevated blood sugar levels, weight loss and constant discomfort. A course of antibiotics for prostatitis didn’t bring relief.

After finding blood in his urine, he was referred for a CT scan. That’s when Terry went to Royal Columbian’s emergency department. It was there he started shaking and had to be wrapped in warm blankets.

“When I looked at him, you could see his pulse was quite fast, but there was no (unusual) temperature,” says emergency physician Dr. Joe Haegert.

“He was alert but obviously in a lot of distress and was having a hard time moving.”

Dr. Haegert suspected an infected disc, and testing revealed it was a Staph aureus infection. Terry was admitted to hospital and put on a new antibiotic.

“The concern with the Staph aureus discitis is that if unchecked, untreated with antibiotics or other treatments, it can continue to swell and cause an abscess,” notes Dr. Haegert, “which can compress the spinal cord and could eventually lead to paraplegia. Terry was fortunate in that he came in time.”

Three months later, and Terry wells up as he thinks about all that happened.

“You don’t come that close to being that sick and not be grateful to the people that saved your life,” he says. “Everybody just seemed to really care and really wanted to see me get better. I feel pretty damn lucky.”

Patient Stories