Former Henry Mayo guard thanks son for quick-thinking efforts

Doug and Nathan Holm in their backyard, April 30, 2018. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

A former security guard at Henry Mayo is looking for answers to allergies that almost cost him his life — save for his son’s quick-thinking actions.

Last Thursday, Doug Holm was drinking vitamin water with acai berries when he suddenly felt his eyes swell shut. His son Nathan recognized the symptoms — Holm was having a major allergic reaction. As they debated what to do next, Holm also felt his lips swelling. Soon, he couldn’t see. He had begun to go into anaphylactic shock.

Nathan, a senior at Valencia High, rushed Holm to the emergency room, where doctors hit him with two EpiPens to stop the shock. He’s grateful to his son for saving his life, he said Monday.

“Had I not had that help, I may have died,” Holm said from his home Monday. Holm is recovering now, but is still not 100 percent sure what’s causing his allergic reactions.

Holm used to work at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as a security guard until a schizophrenic patient, in an uncontained violent rage, attacked him and left him with a severe shoulder injury that required five surgeries and a titanium shoulder, he said.

Since February 2017, Holm has suffered from allergic responses. He said he started to suspect it was vitamin water with acai berries after noticing previous reactions. But on Thursday, he wasn’t paying attention when he drank some with his dinner and subsequently went into severe anaphylactic shock.

Holm plans to see doctors at Adventist Health White Memorial to be tested for the possibility of an infection on his shoulder. As he recovers, Holm is determined to find out through going to an allergist, once and for all what is triggering his allergies.

“I couldn’t tell you what’s causing that,” he said. “Our next move is nailing down what’s exactly wrong.”

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