Together, our community cared for Ellen Thomson

Guelph General Hospital deserves a gold star!

At least that’s what Ellen Thomson, a retired public school teacher, suggests about her experience over the past year.

In May of 2022, Ellen found out, to her dismay, that she would need two hip replacements. She was aware of the buzz about long waiting lists and short staffing, but was pleasantly surprised to be told that her first surgery was scheduled for October 14th, just five months away.

In the lead-up to the surgery date, Ellen recalls that she was “treated so respectfully” at each appointment. During the pre-op clinic, she says that the staff were patient, answered her questions, reassured her, and made her feel that she was special.

On the day of surgery, Ellen arrived to find that her surgery would have to be postponed because there were twenty-two patients in the Emergency Department needing beds that day. She says that staff explained the situation carefully and thoroughly, ensuring she understood the dire circumstances. She waited only four days for the overload to clear, and her surgery was back on.

Ellen gives her surgeon, Dr. Al-Shakman, top marks for his skill, compassion and professionalism. She says the anesthesiologist was gentle and reassuring, while the staff who helped her through the operation were thorough and upbeat. She stayed only one night in the Hospital before going home and was surprised that her surgeon visited her twice while she was there. She was also impressed by the nursing staff on 5W. “They were so quick to respond — if I needed a pillow or water or an extra blanket, anything!”

Today, Ellen is ready to sign up for her second hip surgery. Her surgery and hospital stay were so positive that she has no concerns about a return visit. “I’m quite prepared,” she says.

Because of her experience and learning that most equipment used in the hospital is community-funded, Ellen is now a donor to The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital. She says, “Things wear out (like hips) and must be replaced. Beds, blood pressure cuffs, IVs, all have a shelf life. The facility has maintenance needs, too. We all should support the Hospital; it’s an excellent service.”

Thanks for the gold star, Ellen!