Alberta’s Unsung Heroes – Our Health Professionals
My recent journey with unexpected health failure brought me on the emergency and intensive care unit (ICU) floors of the Misericordia Hospital. When you find yourself in such places, it usually involves a situation where, your health, and sometimes life, lies in the hands of ordinary people who have extraordinary skills in saving lives.
It’s clear that the “healing professions” have come a long way over the past 50 years. The scientific and technological know-how of these professionals demands our utmost respect. The tightly knit body of staff in the Misericordia displayed to me each day their abilities to “care and nurse.” I am especially astonished at the significant body of knowledge and field of practice nurses require these days in caring for their patients. They must expertly do a wide range of activities from helping patients with bed pans to administering semi-permanent IV shunts and femoral catheters, to operating technologically complex equipment. And they do all of this with great care and compassion.
I am eternally grateful to my Misericordia doctors: Drs Bly, Nielsen, Pinchbeck, Rokosh, Stewart, Torok-Both and Walters. I offer the utmost thanks to my nurses: Aimee, Angie, Anna, Carmel, Catherine, Cristin, Derek, Karolina, Katie, Kristy, Michelle, Mike, Nora, Olga, Rachel and Tanya.
When Dr. Torok-Both from the Intensive Care Unit was asked what would make life better at the Misericordia Hospital, he said “My hope for the future is that someday soon the physical infrastructure surrounding the fantastic ICU team will be as good as the team itself." When the ICU reopened at the Misericordia in 2001, it was in a “temporary” location, and it has been there ever since. The team has been hoping to build a permanent unit that would be more comfortable for patients and provide a better workflow for staff.
There is no lower time for an individual than when their life hangs in the balance. One has to rely on others to: bathe them, feed them, medicate them and do everything else necessary to help them, not only to heal, but to live. The professional staff in the Misericordia emergency and ICU departments are impressive. In spite of what issues might be swirling around in the political and social environments, they “care” for you and I. I can’t thank them enough for saving my life.
President and CEO
NOTE: A personal letter of thanks was sent to Mr. Ed Stelmach, Chair of the Board of Directors Covenant Health, and each of the doctors and nursed noted above, to acknowledge the exemplary care I received at the Misericordia Hospital in December 2018. This article also appeared in BioAlberta's March newsletter.