Patient/Donor Stories

What makes our regional hospital vital?

Grey Bruce Health Services’ Owen Sound Regional Hospital treats patients from communities across Grey Bruce and beyond – some in emergency situations – others with life threatening health concerns. A few of our patients have shared below about how care received at the hospital made the difference for them.

PSA test... my family history of prostate cancer

Don Brough

My age is 72 and after a medical appointment in late January, 2015 with my family doctor in Wiarton, he suggested updated PSA tests…thank you! A main reason for doing this is my family history of prostate cancer. Anyone who has a family history of this, or any other type of cancer, should certainly follow up with their family doctor in a timely fashion and the sooner the better.

Given my PSA results, my doctor quickly referred me to a specialist in Owen Sound who then took immediate further steps and I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. He then undertook additional tests and referred me to a radiation oncologist at the London Health Sciences Centre. A video conference call was then set up with him from the Wiarton Hospital…local technology! He took the time to chat with me for three quarters of an hour, reviewed all the test results and presented two treatment alternatives. One was 7 weeks of radiation treatments that consisted of 5 treatments each week and 3 years of hormone treatments. The other possibility was being part of a research study. The study involved one radiation treatment each week for 5 weeks (a stronger radiation dose) and 18 months of hormone treatment. I opted for this alternative. My study coordinator at LHSC has been really helpful in taking me through the process.

Radiation treatments ended in June and my first follow-up appointment in August indicated encouraging results. Further follow-up will be every 6 months and my final hormone treatment will be in June, 2016, depending on test results at that time.

A main reason to be a participant in the study was that it is only through research such as this that can potentially lead to more effective treatments and more efficient use of our health care resources. This study relates to prostate cancer but it could possibly lead to alternative treatments for other forms of cancer with enhanced patient outcomes. I just found it amazing how quickly my situation was addressed by everyone in our regional health care system. These people are very caring and professional individuals. I could not have been treated better. My family were also there, adding huge support.

I would definitely encourage our general public, local municipalities, First Nation communities and the private sector to continue to keep health care on their high priority budget lists. Our local hospitals continue to need to upgrade their diagnostic equipment as technology is changing at an accelerating rate and we need to continuously adapt. I say a sincere thank you as well to the London Health Sciences Centre, our critical health care partner. They all need to be supported.

One twin's heart rate dropped dangerously

When Melissa B. learned she was pregnant, she was ecstatic! When she discovered she was expecting twins she was surprised, but took it in stride.

Her pregnancy was very routine, very normal. She worked with the obstetricians at the Owen Sound Regional Hospital and they were fantastic. “Everything went very smoothly, right to the very end,” Melissa remembers.

Five weeks before her due date, things began to change. Melissa became concerned that the babies were not moving as much as they should, so she had an ultrasound at the Hospital. Everything was fine with the babies, but the next day Melissa went into labour prematurely.

When she arrived at the hospital, she was immediately connected to a fetal heart monitor, so doctors could check the health of her babies. “Shortly after being hooked up to the monitor, one twin’s heart rate dropped dangerously below normal.”

Melissa’s babies were suffering from Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, a condition where twins sharing a single placenta can affect one another’s blood supply, leaving one twin in danger. The mortality rate from the condition is high, and swift action was needed. Melissa’s twins were delivered during an emergency caesarean section.

The Owen Sound Hospital is the only hospital in Grey Bruce that routinely deals with high-risk pregnancies. Fetal heart monitors are used in 90 percent of deliveries. Melissa credits the monitors for helping to save her babies.

Brittany and Addison spent two weeks in the intensive care nursery. Melissa can’t say enough about the care they received from the nurses and doctors.

“They always had the babies best interests at heart. They went above and beyond – whether they spent an extra couple of minutes talking to or holding the babies or when the doctors would be speaking with me they would be touching the babies… it was the extra things that the doctors and nurses did not have to do that makes this hospital so special. Thanks to the “parent room” at the hospital, I was able to stay there and be with my babies every day, allowing me to be involved in all aspects of their care and to really bond with them.”

“If we lived somewhere else, you just don’t know if the outcome would have been the same. But with the way the doctors and nurses worked together, and the state of the art equipment that they have, the outcome was positive for my daughters and me.”

“Let’s get it checked out.”

Those are the first words I heard. The words that sent me on a journey  I never expected to take.

It was just a tiny spot on the screen – a small abnormality discovered during a mammogram. My radiologist wanted to send a biopsy for testing, just in case.

It took ten days to get the results back. During that time I didn’t even think about it. After all, I had no family history of breast cancer. I hadn’t come because I’d found a lump – this was just an optional mammogram. I wasn’t even 50 yet!

But then I heard the words that shocked me the most. “It’s cancer.”

Cancer? Really? How could this be? How was I going to tell my children? I had two daughters in university and two sons in high school. All of their lives I’d only cared for them. Now it was my turn to care for myself – and I would be fighting for my life. I didn’t get upset though, because all of the odds were in my favour. They’d caught it at the earliest stage possible. My surgeon, Dr. Jon Caulfield, was the very best. After two surgeries to remove the cancerous cells, and 6 weeks of radiation treatment, I heard the words that every cancer patient hopes for: “We got it. You’re all clear.”

I’m sharing my story for one important reason – the reason that saved my life. If it hadn’t been for the mammography equipment at Owen Sound Regional Hospital, we would have never found the cancer in time. My story might have had a much different ending.

The smaller the cancer, the better the chance of treating it successfully. Early detection means cancer is less likely to spread and there are more treatment options.

My story is short and sweet. I went from mammogram to cancer-free – all within a few months. But it might not have been. If it weren’t for early detection, my cancer would have likely progressed for at least a few years. Instead of a quick and painless experience – I could have endured months of suffering and even lost my life.

Thanks to thousands of donors from all over Grey and Bruce, the Owen Sound Regional Hospital now has state of the art digital mammography equipment. You have given the gift of early detection to thousands of other women today!

Mary Thomson, Cancer Survivor.

I still have my life... GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

One morning nine years ago, I woke up with a tiny pin prick in my heart area. This went on every minute for an hour. Finally, my wife ignored my saying “it’s ok” and called for an ambulance.

Because of where we live, it took the ambulance a half-hour to arrive. They did some checks and called the hospital. The answer was “get him in here now”.

Just as we were going through the Emergency doors, my heart attack struck. I have never seen so many nurses and doctors in my life and thanks to them, I still have my life. Thank you so much Owen Sound hospital! So folks please do not push aside any little chest pain – GET HELP!

In the fall of 2009 I had 2 car accidents which resulted in the cars being written off. I couldn’t remember anything about what happened. I was lucky that I only had minor cuts and bruises. After several visits to the Hospital for tests and examinations I was told that I was having Epileptic seizures. I was started on medication and within 2 weeks the seizures were under control. Thanks to Dr. Whittle and all at the Owen Sound Hospital for their help, in particular Dr. Ostrander!

Also, I must thank hospital staff for doing every thing to help my wife Yvonne who was there in her last four weeks of life. She suffered with Crohns and colitis for many years.

Once again thank you for all your help and understanding. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

Share your Story

Have you had a great experience at the Owen Sound Regional Hospital? If so, you should share your story! Sharing your story is a great way to inspire others and support our community.

If you have a story you want to share, or a Healthcare Hero you want to honour, contact Chris Doyle (Foundation Associate, Community Giving) by email or phone (519) 372-3925.

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Support Report:
Fall 2023