Lyndsay Green had been sailing with her husband when a simple slip of the foot as she jumped onto the dock led to a sudden and life-threatening injury. Slamming into a cleat and falling into the water, her first thought was that she had broken ribs, but the reality was much worse.
Fortunately for Green, who was rushed to Royal Jubilee Hospital, her attentive and observant team recognized the severity of the injury: a torn liver. Green was bleeding internally ― so much so that she needed to be transfused with three bags of blood.
“The real asset I had was that they didn’t stop monitoring me,” says Green, who was cared for in the Emergency Department, spent five days in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and three days in recovery at Royal Jubilee.
The team’s willingness to listen to her observations about both her medical history and symptoms was also key to identifying the injury.
“The care I received at Royal Jubilee was not passive care. I feel I was a full participant in my medical treatment,” Green says.
The care team at Royal Jubilee made the important decision to embolize Lyndsay’s artery, which involved plugging it with tiny platinum coils inserted through a catheter. To perform the complex and life-saving procedure, the team used an interventional angiography system, a piece of sophisticated equipment that allows doctors to see inside blood vessels and organs. That day, the internal bleeding stopped and Lyndsay’s life was saved.
That individualized care continued post-procedure as Green moved to the ICU, where she had fully expected to feel isolated.
“From the beginning, my family was able to come in, I could stay connected and I had full control over my room, curtains, bed, etc. It was them saying, ‘You know what you need and we’re going to support you in that.’”
“All these things are very subtle, but can be so powerful; it really is about being seen as a person, not just a patient,” Lyndsay says. “We know people can be extremely skilled at dealing with the physical side of treatment but if you don’t engage someone’s mind and soul, you have a slower healing process or it doesn’t happen at all. Royal Jubilee Hospital does it just right, and I am forever thankful for that.”
Counting 25 people in her immediate care team, Green – a writer by nature and career – made sure to record their names and positions. From surgeons and nurses to assistants and cleaning staff, “every single one of those people knew what was going on all the time, they were interested in any issues and spoke to me about them,” she says.
“I had a true sense of gratitude that it had taken 25 people and all that expertise to deal with my accident, and I felt an overwhelming need to personally thank every one of them. But it just wasn’t enough.”
Connecting with the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, Green learned about the Caring Spirit program, which provides patients or families the opportunity to recognize a special caregiver, employee, or entire team by making a donation in their name towards priority medical equipment.
“Throughout my care, I saw and I felt just how important a role equipment plays in healthcare. We have the best and brightest teams, and to be able to help and provide them with the tools they need is a privilege.”
A Caring Spirit gift is used in accordance with the donor’s wishes, and attributed towards priority medical equipment that improves care for patients.
More than that, a Caring Spirit gift acknowledges the care received and allows a patient or their family to connect with their caregiver(s) in a meaningful way.
Caregivers recognized as Caring Spirits are always deeply touched. They receive recognition from their supervisors and peers, a special Caring Spirit pin, and a letter of congratulations that doesn’t disclose the amount of the gift. A Caring Spirit certificate is given to the individual or unit manager and displayed if possible — this is a way to remind staff throughout each long day that their work matters and is appreciated.
The Foundation also helped Green meet and personally thank each member of her care team. “I knew a number of my team had never been thanked before, so to be thanked in this way meant so much to them,” Green says. “I wanted to make sure they knew what they meant to me. They saved my life.”
40 per cent of the equipment at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals is funded by donors to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. Support from donors lets us purchase equipment sooner and more often, ensuring leading-edge care for patients across Vancouver Island. Much like any technology, hospital equipment changes quickly. Ensuring our caregivers have tools of the highest quality means our Vancouver Island patients can continue to receive excellent care.
If you would like to recognize the exceptional care for your or a loved one received at the Royal Jubilee or Victoria General hospitals, nominate a Caring Spirit online, call 250-519-1750 or mail to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay St., Victoria, V8R 1J8.