By Jesse Robitaille
After nearly nine months in the hospital, including several weeks in an induced coma, an Ontario dealer has returned to work with no fears about the violent robbery that sent him there.
On the morning of Jan. 5, four Toronto men entered London Gold Buyer in London, Ont., where one of them shot owner Daniel Loewith, 54, and assaulted a female employee with a sledgehammer. While no customers were in the store during the robbery, Loewith – a member of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) – was transported to the hospital, where he was listed in “serious but non-life-threatening condition,” according to the London Police Service (LPS). He was placed in an induced coma the weekend after the robbery as he underwent his first of 38 procedures, including four major surgeries. Before his release on Sept. 9, he also had two rounds of dialysis for kidney failure, constant one-on-one nursing care plus regular physiotherapy, occupational therapy and respiratory therapy. For four of those months, Loewith remained on life support.
“I’m decent, but I still have some respiratory issues that I’m told will probably last up to a year,” Loewith said in mid-November while sitting in his London office, where he was shot 11 months earlier.
While he’s pleased with his recovery, Loewith still visits a doctor each day for wound care plus a physiotherapist each week. He’s also battling critical illness neuropathy, which has effected his legs and arms due to restricted muscle movements while laid up in the hospital.
“I was basically lying in bed for over half a year, but quite frankly, in comparison to where I was, I’m in pretty good shape.”
In August, after seven and a half months in intensive care, he moved to the Parkwood Institute, a rehabilitation hospital, where he did 30-60 minutes of physiotherapy every day while spending the other 23-plus hours in bed.
“I asked them to let me go home so I could do it at home. I’d rather lie at home than in the hospital, so I’m doing outpatient stuff now,” said Loewith, who still has “a full medical calendar, which is really quite something.”
“But that being said, I’m sitting here in my office right now at work, and I’ve been here for a couple of hours, and I’ll be here for another couple of hours before I head back home. I’m in pretty well every day now.”
He returned to work in mid-September, about a week after leaving the hospital, and has “surprisingly had no PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) whatsoever.”
“I just watched the security camera video for the first time,” he told CCN on Nov. 21, “and other than seeing one of my employees get hit in the head – I didn’t see it happen at the time – it didn’t bother me. I was kind of surprised as I was fully expecting it to be a big deal, but it really didn’t bother me. Quite frankly, the only reason I was in the hospital was I was stupid and went after the guy. If I just sat there and put my hands up, I probably would have never went through this ordeal – but then they probably would have cleaned us out and not got caught. I didn’t think twice: I went after him.”
VIOLENT ROBBERY ENDS WITH SHOOTING
This August, Ontario Court Justice Kevin McHugh sentenced Dejan Stephen, who was aged 19 at the time of the incident and pleaded guilty to armed robbery, assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and using a handgun during an indictable offence, to seven years in prison.
When Stephen pulled the trigger, the bullet entered Loewith’s chest before rupturing his kidney, filling his lungs with blood and damaging his diaphragm. He arrived at the hospital near death and suffered an “alarming number of serious medical setbacks,” according to a London Free Press report, which listed a pulmonary embolism, necrotizing pneumonia and necrotizing pancreatitis.
“He has an open wound and endured gaping surgeries from his sternum to his waist that he told his wife hurt more than the gunshot wound,” reads the Free Press report, which added Loewith has needed 73 units of blood products.