Nichola Martin and Art Kilgour appreciate the care and support they received

It’s one thing to break an arm; it’s another to break both arms, but it is quite another to do so in the middle of a pandemic!

On the afternoon of June 20th this year, Guelph paramedics responded to a call for help at a local residence.

Nichola Martin, had fallen off her backyard deck stairs and was in a lot of pain. EMTs transported her by ambulance to the GGH Emergency Department, where X-rays showed both arms were fractured just above the wrists. The injury is the most common arm break seen in the hospital and is often called a FOOSH, short for Falling Onto Outstretched Hands.

It’s one thing to break an arm; it’s another to break both arms, but it is quite another to do so in the middle of a virus pandemic! Nichola admits that she was initially quite nervous. However, she relaxed when she realized the level of professionalism and care she was receiving, from the first responders to every hospital staffer she encountered.

Nichola’s wait in Emergency was only about five minutes. From there to X-ray to the procedure for setting her bones, Nichola met with, in her words, “amazing care.”

“The ER doctor, the nurses, the porters who took me to X-ray and back, the technicians, surgeon and anesthetist, everyone was incredibly caring.”

Within four hours, Nichola’s arms were set, splints applied, and she was on her way home.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, Nichola’s husband, Art, could not stay with Nichola in the Emergency Department during her time there. He was not allowed inside the hospital at all. But he describes his experience in very favourable terms. He found waiting at home was more comfortable than sitting in a hospital waiting room. He was able to call directly to the unit where Nichola was being treated. Staff gave him specific information and called him back as soon as Nichola was ready to be released.

Art believes that “the focus on the patients (and not on the waiting family) allows the professionals to triage more efficiently, and that leads to better care.” He describes his interactions with staff as reassuring and supportive, and he notes that the technology available is of high quality. To quote Art, “Professional expertise is applied with an empathetic lens. GGH staff demonstrate a strong element of caring and responsiveness that I believe is under-recognized.”

Now, several months after the accident, Nichola still needs her husband to assist her with personal care. The books she loves to read are still too heavy to lift, and she isn’t able to swim because she isn’t strong enough to pull herself out of the water. Her beloved garden needs weeding, and she has had to learn patience that her usual pastimes will be on hold for a while yet. But she is healing and upbeat, and very grateful for the excellent care she received at GGH.

Nichola Martin on the day of her fall after returning home from Guelph General Hospital.

Nichola remembers the names of all her caregivers from that day. She is pleasantly surprised when many recognize her when she regularly returns to the X-ray Department for aftercare.

She gets a bit emotional when she speaks about the experience. She wants the staff to know how much she and Art appreciate the care and support they received on that day in June.

That is why Nichola and Art have donated to the GGH Foundation. They want our caring staff to have quality resources to do their jobs properly, especially during these difficult times. Thank you, Nichola and Art!