We would like to express our gratitude to all the Collingwood G&M Hospital’s patients and donors who took the time to share their stories with us.

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Terry Reid and his wife Marilynn decided to leave their busy Toronto life behind and retire in South Georgian Bay. They now spend their days travelling the world, visiting with their 10 grandchildren, skiing in the winter and golfing in the summer. If you met them today, you would say that they are a happy and healthy couple. What you would probably never guess is that just a few months ago Terry was unexpectedly critically ill and between life and death.

At the end of January of this year, Terry had an infection. He didn’t have a family doctor in the area, so he contacted his physician in the city, who prescribed him antibiotics. On the 3rd day of his treatment, Marilynn started noticing something wasn’t right. He insisted that he was fine, and encouraged her to go about her usual day. Fast forward a few hours, Marilynn received a phone call from Terry, telling her he was feeling worse. Thankfully she was already on her way home. As soon as she got in the door she knew something was terribly wrong. Marilynn immediately went into action taking his temperature and vitals and called 911.

Terry’s infection had migrated into sepsis. “If you read Dr. Google you will see that many people with sepsis don’t live to tell the story,” said Terry. “The only reason I am still alive today is because of my amazing wife Marilynn’s quick response, along with the extremely talented staff at the Collingwood G&M Hospital (CGMH)”, he added. “The speed and expertise with which they took care of me was incredible.”

Marilynn also recalls; “It was so impressive to see how triage works. There were 6 other ambulances when we got to CGMH – a sign of the demands in our small Emergency Department. Someone had to prioritize who was the most critical patient, and at that time Terry was definitely it. His blood pressure was dropping quickly at 60/40 and his heart rate was extremely high at 140 bpm. Sepsis is very vicious on your organs.”

However, both Terry and Marilynn said there was never a time when they were not confident in the skills of the CGMH staff; “Within minutes of our arrival, Terry was expertly diagnosed and medical intervention started.  But it wasn’t just the physicians; it was all the staff. The lab turned the blood work around so quickly, the x-ray technicians were remarkable, and we cannot say enough about the nurses in ICU”

Marilynn fondly remembers that one ICU nurse told her to go home to try to get some sleep and gave her a direct phone number to call if she needed an update. Every time Marilynn called, the nurse picked up immediately. “Everyone was so positive, and they just wanted to do what was right for Terry,” says Marilynn.

Terry and Marilynn still have many friends and family in the city. When they heard Terry had sepsis, they asked why they weren’t having him transferred to a bigger hospital. “A lot of people associate the size of the hospital with its capabilities – what they forget is that it’s all about the expertise of the people who provide care. The fact that the hospital is old or small doesn’t mean anything. The level of expertise and compassion of every physician, nurse and staff member encountered at CGMH was incredible. I felt totally cared for by people who knew exactly what they were doing,” said Terry.

Marilynn agreed; “That is why it is so important for the community to engage, to donate to this great cause, and to become aware of all of the amazing innovations that are happening at our hospital all because of community support and the exceptional team of physicians and staff.”

The first time that Norm needed to have surgery at the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital (CGMH) was following a bad fall on the ski hill where he suffered several broken bones.

Luckily, the CGMH surgical care team specializes in orthopaedic procedures that help to stabilize patients in trauma, particularly after sports related injuries.

Norm’s second accident requiring surgery was after the “extreme sport of taking out garbage”.

It was in late spring, the garbage bin was in the shade and when I walked out of the shade onto the driveway, I hit a patch of black ice. My feet went up and I landed on my right shoulder and broke my collar bone,” said Norm. His wife Marg recognized right away that they needed to go to the hospital.  “Once again, the Emergency Department was wonderful,” Norm recalls.

After reading the x-ray, Dr. Olivia Cheng, orthopaedic surgeon, was called and surgery was booked for the very next morning.

People come to CGMH for a variety of problems – acute or planned surgeries.  But what our surgeons want to do is treat them as quickly and as least invasively as possible. For a patient like Norm, they also take his active lifestyle into consideration.  CGMH surgeons want patients to recover quickly and get back on the hill, on their bike or on the pickleball court. They want to make sure their patients are healthy and remain active and able to do what they love.

As an Emergency Physician at the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital (CGMH), I am part of a team that cares for over 33,000 patients annually.  I’d like to tell you a story about something that happened in your hospital.

It was 1 o’clock in the morning and I was on duty in the Emergency Department at CGMH when a 42-year old woman came in complaining of a sudden severe headache. The extreme pain had started a few hours earlier. It happened without warning and by the time she reached the Emergency Department she was vomiting, experiencing double vision and feeling like she was going to faint.

I knew that we had to act quickly.  Urgent neurosurgical issues like this happen often.  I ordered an urgent CT scan which was fed immediately into our Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). Using PACS I was able to diagnose a bleeding in the brain within seconds and was able to send the images online to a neurosurgeon in Toronto.

Over the phone, while we both looked at the PACS images of her brain, the neurosurgeon was able to confirm the diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding in the brain. This is a life threatening condition which required stabilizing the patient and airlifting her to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto for urgent care.

Today my patient is alive and well and back home with her family. But, without the PACS system, she could have died.

This equipment allowed me to quickly diagnose her condition and arrange for direct intervention.  Without PACS web-based systems it would be impossible to practice modern medicine. As an emergency physician, I feel so fortunate to work in a hospital where the community understands the importance of investing in state of the art equipment. This is what makes us able to diagnose and care for our patients in the best possible way.

Barry has had experience with a couple of joint replacement surgeries performed at the Collingwood G&M Hospital. First a surgery successfully done by Dr. John McCall and most recently his knee replacement by Dr. Koo. The times Barry has had to use the G&M Hospital he was very pleased with the care that he received from registration, to surgery and right through to recovery.  This was also the case when his wife was cared for by Dr. McCall and the surgical team at the G&M Hospital.

Barry attributes his good outcomes to the level of professionalism and skill of our local care team and for this he is thankful.  He considers the work of our surgeons to be impeccable.

I have to thank Dr. Koo for his exceptional level of skill and also to the local healthcare team.  On the occasions that I have had to use our hospital, I’ve been treated so well and been continuously impressed with the level of skill that our healthcare professionals have locally.  I didn’t have to travel for this quality of care.  I was able to have my surgeries and all of the follow up care done right here in Collingwood, and for that I am very grateful”, says Barry.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, my son Toby developed a very acute pain in his stomach and given he is usually a pretty tough guy, I deemed that we should go to the Emergency Department at the Collingwood G&M Hospital (CGMH) quickly for assistance.

While it appeared quite busy, within a few short minutes he was in a bed with nurses at his side.

With real promptness and care we were seen by a doctor, had an IV established, blood sample taken and to my and Toby’s relief, had a very effective and comforting drug introduced to ease his pain.

For the next several hours we were to receive the most excellent care and attention from the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department. Along with a very nice x-ray tech, they provided us with care, comfort and information from start to finish, helped make my son smile, kept my somewhat jangled nerves calm and in general could not have been more helpful to us.

As well, we had plenty of smiles and encouraging words directed our way from the various staff members that passed by his bed over the course of the time.

Our sincere thanks go to the doctors and nurses that took care of us, and other Hospital staff, personnel and protocols, that allow for the immediate care of a child in pain and the comfort while awaiting the outcome.

The G&M Hospital, along with its staff, are a true and essential asset to our Community.

As a family physician, Dr. Lewin knows the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  Cross-country skiing, biking and swimming were all part of Dr. Lewin’s regime to ensure he stays in good physical condition.  In September 2008, Dr. Lewin was 50 kilometres into a bike ride through the Beaver Valley with two other physicians when an accident happened.  Travelling at about 60 km/hr, the rider in front slowed and Dr. Lewin had to swerve to avoid hitting him.

Dr. Lewin recalls that day clearly.  “One minute I was riding down the road on a bike with my friends, the next minute I was in a ditch upside down on my head.  It all happened so quickly and unexpectedly.”

Dr. Lewin knew instantly that he had broken his neck.  Luckily he was riding with two colleagues: an emergency physician and an orthopaedic surgeon, who acted quickly, calling the ambulance and assisting in removing Dr. Lewin carefully from the deep ditch in which he had landed. Dr. Lewin arrived by ambulance at Collingwood G&M Hospital’s (CGMH) Emergency Department where the medical team worked quickly to stabilize and diagnose the exact location of the fracture in his neck. Dr. Lewin needed to undergo spinal surgery.  Two days after a successful surgery at Sunnybrook Hospital, Dr. Lewin requested to be transferred back to CGMH and stay under the care of his family physician and his orthopaedic surgeon.

“I wanted to be looked after by people who cared about me and my family,” said Dr. Lewin.  “It was great to have people I knew in charge of my care.  They focused on my recovery and rehabilitation but also kept the needs of my wife and family in mind.  It was good to be home,” he added.