The autumn edition of the Prince County Hospital Foundation’s newsletter. This issue features stories on Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots, the revamped X-Ray Room, and a feature story on the breast cancer journey of Nancy Key.
Claudette Theriault is a planner. She likes to know exactly what she is doing and when. But, there is no way to plan for breast cancer. In the late nineties, Claudette found a lump the size of a grape; it was Stage Three Breast Cancer. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiation in New Brunswick (there was no radiation on PEI at that time) and then six months of chemotherapy at the old PCH on Beattie Avenue.Every spring since then she’s gotten a mammogram. Each time her appointment came around, she was nervous her cancer had returned but knew that it was better to know than not. “It’s always a period that I’m anxious,” Claudette told us in a recent interview at PCH. “I was always afraid that I would get it again. You just wait, wait, wait for your results.”Last year the day came. Claudette’s annual mammogram was with technologist, Amy Murphy. “Amy was thorough. I thought, ‘If I have ANYTHING, she’s going to find it.’ I left there with confidence that if there was anything at all, that she would have found it. She was so thorough, compassionate, caring, and gentle.” Amy was new in her role and … View full news story.
The Prince County Hospital Foundation is launching their annual Vital Signs appeal this week and Digital Mammography is front and centre of the $1,788,900 campaign.
Andrea Wile is a PCH Registered Nurse, the Nurse Manager in the Maternal Child Care Unit, a small business owner in Summerside with her husband Kevin, and a member of the PCH Foundation Board of Directors. When Andrea was a teenager she lost her mother to breast cancer. Though her mother’s cancer was thought to be found early, advancements in mammography have meant that Andrea’s cancer was found even earlier…when she was 35. Andrea recounts “As scary as it is to get results and as scary as it is to get diagnosed, I’d rather know than not know. The options in front of me were positive because of early detection.”Andrea’s mother did everything that was recommended to her in the early 90s, but died from cancer seven years later. “I was blessed,” said Andrea, “because although I couldn’t ask her, my mom was a nurse and kept diaries of her health. I was lucky to be able to read it.” The path her mother walked in those diaries helped to colour Andrea’s own decisions when she was met with her diagnosis. After the mother of two found a lump in February 2018, she consulted, Dr. Heather Austin, her family physician. … View full news story.
“He has a bit of a cough,” the daycare workers said to Melissa Bagnall when she picked up her 18 month old son, Adrien. After a restless night, the cough appeared worse and Adrien did not seem like himself. Melissa called the office of her family physician, Dr. Sharpe, for an appointment; they fit them in that afternoon. After seeing how hard Adrien was working to breathe, they were sent to the Maternal Child Care Unit (MCCU) at Prince County Hospital for a consult with Dr. David Wong. When they arrived at the hospital, they were met by Adrien’s father, Glenn. When patients arrive at the hospital unit to see the doctor, pediatric nurses must demonstrate a calm skill-set as they assess, prioritize and manage patients until a doctor arrives. Jaime Richard and Erica Waite were the RNs on duty in MCCU that day. They quickly realized how sick Adrien was and contacted Dr. Wong. A portable chest x-ray revealed that his upper airways were very swollen and becoming so tight that he was using all of the muscles in his chest and belly to suck in each breath. Bloodwork showed that his little lungs were beginning to shut down … View full news story.
September 7, 2019
“It started with a sore throat and ear infection …that’s what I thought it was. It got pretty bad. When I couldn’t keep any water down, I went to PCH Emergency – waited, had a brief exam and was sent home because it was thought to be viral,” said Tyler Kember in a spring 2019 interview. The Summerside business owner and father of three was presenting with what seemed like common cold and flu symptoms. “I went to see my family doctor on Monday and he called PCH and sent me to Emergency. There was a stretcher waiting. My doctor later told me that in another four hours I could have been dead. I was one of the sickest people he’d ever had in the medical centre.” “My kidneys had shut down and I was septic – they didn’t really know the cause of it. If my blood hadn’t been infected – it just looked like normal stuff (the previous symptoms). By then I had a pretty big swelling on my neck. They monitored me to try to figure what it was. At first they thought it might be strep throat and they might need to do surgery. I couldn’t … View full news story.
May 6, 2019
“I just wanted to be home.” This was not the sentiment Angie MacCaull and her husband Mike were hoping for when they set out for a cruise out of Miami. They would never set foot on the boat. Angie was doubled over in pain in her Florida hotel room when they decided to rush back to PEI for treatment. With the severe heaviness in her chest, they knew it was something serious. In the lead up to the trip, Angie had endured similar attacks. Having ruled out a number of possibilities including a gallbladder issue, through blood work, ultrasounds, electrocardiographs (ECG) and other testing at PCH, she was released with what was thought to be acid reflux. The attending physician encouraged her to return if she had further pain. “It was the best thing he could have said to me,” she remarked. Upon arrival home, Angie was admitted to PCH for extensive testing. By the next day, it was suggested that a family history of esophageal spasms could be the culprit and she was medicated accordingly. The treatment appeared to be working, and she was able to go home. The attacks returned that night and Angie went back to … View full news story.
May 16, 2018
There are no planned accidents. You never know when an accident will happen. But, when Bernard and Sharon Handrahan were in a car accident this February, the team at Prince County Hospital was ready and fully equipped to help them. Though it was a “write off,” their van and its air bags kept them alive despite hitting a tree so hard that their headlights were now facing each other. “We hit it right in the middle,” said Bernard in a recent PCH Foundation interview. “If it had been more right or left, there’d only be one of us here. I was stunned. I knew Sharon was hurt, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even check if she was okay.” Sharon was not, in fact, okay. The couple from Christopher’s Cross (just outside of Tignish) was rushed to the PCH Emergency Department. Through Digital Radiography (x-rays) and numerous other tests, it was a determined Sharon had several fractured ribs, as well as a collapsed lung and would need emergency surgery. “It was amazing,” she said. “Before I knew it, they had diagnosed me. You get to see them all work and it’s a well-oiled machine. They all have their jobs … View full news story.
May 30, 2017
“It is unimaginable to think what our story would be if these services were not available at the PCH.” That is the sentiment Lori Pomeroy expressed when she discussed the life saving surgery her son Campbell received at the Prince County Hospital two years ago. He was rushed to the Emergency Department at the PCH with what the family thought were flu-like symptoms that were persisting for days. However, Campbell’s body was quickly “shutting down” and he required emergency surgery. While in surgery, it was discovered that his bowel had twisted and ruptured and he was septic. It was determined he had Meckel’s Diverticulum and consequently he had 60cm of his small intestine removed that day. “It was a very intense situation and doctors told us ideally he would be airlifted to IWK,” says Lori. “However, he was not stable enough to be transported. He did not have time. So, without the teams in Emergency services, the Operating Room, and the equipment used that day at the PCH, our son would not have made it. We are forever grateful that we can share this miraculous story.” This surgery and many others have been possible because of the team in Surgical … View full news story.
On an ordinary day last winter, Gordon MacFarlane was in Pownal at a hockey tournament with his son, Matt. Before lunch he began to feel an all too familiar nausea, followed by intense pain. Leaving his son with another parent he began to make his way to Prince County Hospital (PCH). He called his mother in Stanley Bridge, saying he didn’t think he could make it home and would come there. He coasted into his mother’s driveway where she would find him slumped over the wheel of his car. She called an ambulance and he was rushed to PCH. Over the years, Gordon has had numerous surgeries as a result of the ulcerative colitis he’s had since age 15. The condition is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers and led to the removal of Gordon’s lower intestine over the course of two operations in 2003 and 2007 and replaced by stretching and expanding his small intestine. Those surgeries, coupled with a liver transplant performed in 2005, means that Gordon has significant scar tissue in his abdomen, strands of which occasionally attach to his small intestine, kinking it. The liver transplant has also meant a number of … View full news story.
For the Mendoza family, PCH doesn’t just stand for Prince County Hospital – for them it has become the Personal Care Hospital. Since Mitchell (20) was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2006, they have become family at PCH. When they walk into the Emergency Department or the Maternal Child Care Unit, they are instantly recognized. Over the years this chronic disease has led Mitchell through PCH for treatment and testing in the ever-growing need to understand and combat this disease. Whether receiving testing in the laboratory, being admitted for pain through Emergency, receiving a scope or an iron infusion in the Endoscopy service of Ambulatory Care, or spending time in Paediatrics, Mitchell has become accustomed to the hallways of his personal care hospital. It is this personal care received from their PCH family that has carried the Mendoza family through tough times over the years. Mitchell beams as he talks of care close to home and how it is truly his community caring for him. “We knew 6 nurses personally when I was first admitted. I knew 3 of my nurses in my surgery and even my family doctor scrubbed in just to make sure everything went alright. My next … View full news story.
How I Spent My March Break – with Anna Smith Over the course of two months, ten-year-old Anna Smith developed what was thought to be a mole that didn’t seem abnormal, but became increasingly annoying. One Sunday she noticed a hard ball under the spot on her left arm. By Wednesday there was a dime-sized red circle around the spot. By the following day it had grown to the size of a toonie and had become a great concern to both her and her mother Lisa. “It really bugged me,” Anna explained. “I didn’t know what it was.” That evening, Anna and her mother made a trip to the Emergency Department (ED) at PCH. The spot was diagnosed as an infection and an antibiotic was prescribed to clear it up. In the case of Anna’s infection, an abscess was evident from the appearance of the skin and the feel of the area, but the first round of antibiotics were ineffective, as was a second antibiotic and the infection continued to spread. With the infection still growing aggressively, Anna and her mother returned to the ED and were seen by Dr. Steven MacNeill who diagnosed the infection as cellulitis. Dr. MacNeill, … View full news story.
Nao Hockin was aware that she would be delivering her baby earlier than usual. She was admitted to PCH on Wednesday, February 20th and at 36 weeks Nao’s labour was induced. She was in mild labour throughout the day, however that all intensified when her water broke at 5:00 pm. Baby girl Rina Hockin was born February 21st at 1:39 am. She was 4 weeks early and weighed 4 lbs, 2 ozs. Due to her early arrival, Tim and Nao did not know what complications may arise or if their baby would be able to breathe on her own. With a room full of healthcare professionals including Dr. Freeman, Dr. Farag, Respiratory Therapist Abdul Rahma and Nursing staff, the Panda iRes Infant Warmer was prepared. This new technology was imperative in baby Rina’s first moments. The unit provides the necessary warmth but also had the ability to measure her oxygen saturation. Fortunately, PCH was equipped with the Infant Warmers as the Foundation recently purchased two units in 2012 thanks to the generous donations received from the community. “She was so small that she was not able to maintain her body heat,” says new father Tim Hockin, “but luckily she was … View full news story.
On November 7th, 2004, a Sunday like any other, Gary Naylor was sitting in church when he felt an immense pain in his abdomen. Gary rushed to the Prince County Hospital to receive the diagnosis that would save his life. Having barely sat down in the waiting area, he was ushered into a room to be checked. Luckily for Gary, PCH was equipped with a portable ultrasound. Dr. Scott Cameron used this versatile piece of equipment to get a visual of what was happening in Mr. Naylor’s body. Gary was in the midst of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (also known as AAA). A ballooning of the abdominal aorta exceeding the normal diameter by more than 50 percent, an AAA can cause pain in the abdomen and back (due to pressure on surrounding tissues). Mr. Naylor doesn’t recall a moment from then on when Dr. Cameron was not by his side, until the helicopter arrived to whisk him off to Halifax where a stint was placed in the aorta. It is this type of quick diagnosis made possible by the portable Ultrasound that saves lives weekly in the Emergency Room at Prince County Hospital. “It was all very well done. And … View full news story.
For years Marilla Millar has been the one giving exceptional care. The Ellerslie foster parent has been responsible for the lives of 128 children since 1974. She will be recognized with a honourary degree this spring at UPEI for her dedication to foster parenting. But it is the exceptional care she received at Prince County Hospital that resonates with Mrs. Millar. Two years ago this very special woman suddenly found herself extremely ill. She was rushed to PCH for medical attention. To determine what was ailing Marilla, a colonoscope was performed in the Ambulatory Care Department at PCH. The results of which were less than desirable…it was cancer. She was diagnosed in May and surgery was performed on June 1st to remove part of her bowel. Two weeks later she began an intense six months of chemotherapy. “The girls in the treatment centre were marvelous,” says Marilla, speaking of staff in the Oncology Unit at PCH. “They explained everything they were doing. My experience at the hospital was the best of care,” she said. She also stressed the importance of a positive attitude. “They told me that if I hadn’t had this (procedure) done, I would have had 2 years … View full news story.