Devon Fitness Owner Cleared!

Jan 15, 2013, 13:23 ET from Michael Thomas

VILLANOVA, Pa., Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The below release was submitted by Michael Thomas, personal friend of John McCaffrey, owner of Devon Fitness:

As a close friend of John McCaffrey's I have to write the truth about the accident in 2011.  Here are some things people didn't know (and always remember:  You don't know what you don't know):

First of all, John McCaffrey's good friend is healthy and fine, thank God.  Secondly, John had had a botched Spinal Fusion surgery less than 2 weeks earlier, and had been discharged early from the hospital with narcotic prescriptions to manage the pain. John contracted a staph infection, which was misdiagnosed and untreated by doctors.  Despite multiple visits to doctors for help with the infection, he was told it was not an infection and was given more narcotics to manage the pain. John's mother had been admitted to a hospital and John was caring for his father, a WWII veteran.

This accident is the result of surgical complications, a misdiagnosed staph infection treated by doctors with narcotics for pain, and the presentation of 1942 World War II war memorabilia to a long-time friend.

On the night of the accident, John McCaffrey was battling a (misdiagnosed) raging staph infection that came from his spinal fusion surgery.  It seemed the only help doctors would provide was to overmedicate for pain with heavy narcotics.  Twice John went to doctors for help with his infected hip (the donor site for his cervical bone graft).  The first time he was told it was an allergic reaction to the surgical staples, the second time (just days before this accident) they refused to even look at his hip, they just refilled his prescriptions for valium and dilaudid, two of the strongest narcotics available. His 89 year old mother was hospitalized with cardiac complications, and his 89 father was distraught.  Through it all, John mustered the strength to care for his father by taking him to his VFW Lodge and donating a model B-24 plane, just like the one he flew in WWII.  Upon returning home, in extreme pain from his surgery and infection, and saddened with the condition of his parents, John's friend came over to see how he was doing.  John, medicated on two of the strongest narcotics (dilaudid and valium) by the doctors, put on a good face and had a glass of wine with his friend and talked of the heroism of his father and his WWII accolades.  John proudly showed off the war memorabilia including a Flying Cross and WWII literature dropped from his father's B-24 airplane (like in the novel "Unbroken") over enemy lines, and other medals.  John also had a 1942 antique war relic firearm which was kept separately.  His friend had never seen a 1942 German Luger, so John promised to get it later.  The night wore on, as did the wine, and the firearm was brought out to show. And that is when the accident occurred.  The media made it sound malicious when it was simply more like the movie "The Hangover".

What people may or may not know is that the close friend of John's, someone John considers like a little brother, thankfully is just fine.  The 1942 antique German Luger (known to be very sensitive and unreliable) accidently discharged one time.  As soon as the luger discharged, John and his wife called 911 and the medics and police arrived.  Given the intoxication of the friend and of John, they had no memory of how the luger discharged.  His friend was conscious, talking, and was lying on his back with no visible signs of injury or blood.  He was talking to John and the police but was taken to the hospital quickly by the paramedics.  Initially, they mistakenly thought John's friend was hit three times, but this was proven incorrect at the hospital.  The luger discharged one time.  However, in their confusion over the events, which neither party remembered due to intoxication, the police charged John with everything they could think of, leaving it to the courts to further investigate and remove any inaccurate charges.  Given the state of the friendship between these two men, the detective said to John's wife that it was probably just "horse-play", however by that time the charges were in place and it would be up to John to prove his innocence. 

When any firearm is involved the police take it very seriously (as well they should).  The detectives searched through everything and interviewed everyone and found no evidence to support their charges.  Within days most of the charges were dropped, and John was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to treat the now confirmed staph infection.  All in all, John spent a total of 23 days in the hospital to treat this infection, and he had an intravenous peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line – an IV line) in his bicep to deliver antibiotics intravenously at home, round the clock, for nearly 4 months.  The surgery left John with permanent avascular necrosis (bone death caused by poor blood supply to the area) and the staph infection and antibiotics to treat it, gave him severe joint damage.  John endured all this while defending against erroneous accusations which affected his personal reputation as well as that of his business.

Mr. McCaffrey worked through the often times confusing legal system by telling the truth, he was open and honest, and based on the testimony of everyone at the scene and all the evidence, the courts concluded that this was indeed an accident. In 2012, the other charges were dropped and resolved as well. 

What was a private accident that happened at home, was not treated as such.  John McCaffrey built and has owned a fitness center on the Main Line since 2001.   It's a club where many people work out and socialize. As the owner of a facility where hundreds of people enter and exit daily you become a very public figure within that circle.  Mr. McCaffrey has managed hundreds of employees and thousands of members in his 12+ years running the business.  And quietly, he and his club have raised tens of thousands of dollars for various charities. 

But this all mattered little after this accident.  It also mattered little that Mr. McCaffrey had no police record in his 48 years before this accident.  And as morning broke after the accident, so did the news of this incident.

As the hours went by Mr. McCaffrey realized that there were forces in social media circles that were trying to define him by the worst 1 second of his life. 

As the police worked to sort out the facts of this case, people were simultaneously discussing Mr. McCaffrey's personal nightmare behind internet "handles" on blogs and on other social media as if they had witnessed it.  Here's what we all agree on:  There were only two people in the room during the accident, and neither person discussed it with anyone else. 

We live in an age of instant information and whether the content is accurate or inaccurate, this information ultimately lives on in the minds of the people who receive it so I am taking the time to publicly state the truth for all who are interested. 

The most important thing is that John's close friend is fine, and that's really all that matters.  We thank God for that!

This event happened in less than 1 second, but the lasting affects of the gossip associated with this incident have damaged a reputation that was built over the past 12 years at Devon Fitness and almost a half century of being a productive citizen, a loved son, a cherished brother and a valued friend. 

Through the media and social media, many people have decided to embellish the events of this personal nightmare and present their versions as fact to the general public.   Who are these bloggers and internet snipers who hide behind fictitious names on chat boards? Well, through subpoenas and cyber detectives, we found out!  As it turns out, most of these people are ex-employees of Devon Fitness who were let go for various reasons, prior members whose memberships were revoked for cause, and even competitors to the business.  Whatever their motives, they have clearly made the choice to use this very personal accident as an opportunity to create "facts" in a clear attempt to defame Mr. McCaffrey's character and erode the reputation his business.  

It should be noted very clearly that if anyone posts information relative to this accident, they should think before commenting publicly because Mr. McCaffrey has decided that his reputation and the name of his business are worth defending.  Defamation suits will start in 2013.  His lawyers will be happy to add anyone to the list who thinks they can hide behind fake email addresses and engage in liable or slander to spread whatever inaccurate stories they want. 

While this accident will be always be a part of Mr. McCaffrey's life, it will not define his life's work.  And again, the only thing that matters is that John's friend is fine and well.  

John is so grateful to his family and friends and staff and members who believed in him and saw him through this unbelievable year.  The love and support he received from those who know him in his time of need was truly overwhelming and heart-warming.  His true friends came from far and wide to show their support, and for that John is beyond grateful and truly blessed. 

If you ever have the privilege to really know John McCaffrey, you will know a loving man who cares very deeply about his family, friends and community.  You will know he has a great sense of humor (he is one of funniest guys I know) and you will know he will not allow 1 second of his life to define a body of work that spans nearly a half century!

~ Submitted by Michael Thomas

SOURCE Michael Thomas