Health system does work well

I am writing this letter, grateful for the remarkable efforts of some talented professionals from the Vancouver Island Health Authority

The injuries from my motorcycle accident were horrific. My leg was a mangled mess. However, I am writing this letter, grateful for the remarkable efforts of some talented professionals from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) that repaired my injuries and possibly saved my life.

My crash in October was not a result of speeding, drinking or foolishness – it was bad luck. I suffered a dislocated shoulder, a compound fracture of the left leg and was losing a lot of blood when I called 911. Yes, I called 911 myself while lying on the ground.

Her response was immediate, her voice soothing and her professional demeanor actually calmed me in the knowledge that help was on the way. It was a wonderful conversation.

The ambulance arrived very quickly. The paramedics assessed the situation, stabilized my injuries and loaded me into the ambulance without delay. Throughout this process, these exceedingly competent individuals were managing my medical emergency with ease and reassuring me continually.

I could not have asked for better service.  Once on board the ambulance, one paramedic even offered to call my wife and in a calm and comforting voice he explained the predicament then allowed me to chat with her prior to our trip to the hospital. Even now, I cannot think of a better way to break the awkward news of my accident.

Ambulance paramedics are, in my view, under-rated, under-appreciated and almost certainly under paid. My experience highlighted that they are well trained, motivated and key members of the team whose actions save lives every day. Without a doubt, they deserve our respect and our support.

The Victoria General emergency room staff whirled into action immediately upon my arrival. I have to admit not all of this part of the saga is clear as by now the morphine had a good grip on my pain. Yet despite the haze, I have a recollection of doctors, nurses, paramedics and technicians all functioning in brisk harmony to help prepare me for surgery. It was an excruciatingly impressive experience.

When I awoke in my hospital bed, I was confused and sore. It was the smiling face of my nurse that brought my world back into focus.

Her caring attitude relaxed the anguish as well as the pain. I have learned nurses are the backbone of our medical system. They allow the healing to occur. I cannot imagine how I would have coped without their collective efforts.

The astounding orthopedic surgeon who put me back together again worked magic. My left leg was a disarray of broken bones but with diligence and skill I can barely comprehend, he assembled the pieces.

Every day now the leg grows stronger and a full recovery is the prognosis. The scars that remain will be a constant reminder that modern surgery can be miraculous.

I have nothing but admiration for the VIHA folks that treated me.

Thank you all.

Almost daily now I read with renewed interest about some aspect of our medical system under stress and it causes me concern. I can attest that our system works well when required.

We must never lose sight of that fact.

Grant Smith

North Saanich