Dr. John Rawlinson

For Dr. John Rawlinson and his fellow radiologists at Joseph Brant Hospital, high-quality imaging equipment is critical.

“On any given day, we’re reviewing CT scans, MRIs and mammograms for patients across the hospital,” he said. “Sometimes the tests are routine, and sometimes they’re an emergency, but they’re always critical to diagnosing and treating our patients. And they often save lives.”

Dr. Rawlinson recalls an example, where a woman came to the Emergency Department (ED) with severe abdominal pain. When her blood work came back normal, a CT scan was performed to determine the cause of the pain.

When one of Dr. Rawlinson’s colleagues reviewed the scan, the quality of the imaging was so detailed that they were able to identify a 4-centimetre section of her bowel where the X-ray dye was not showing up, meaning there was no blood supply. 

“Our teams work very closely together, with the radiologist sharing his findings to the ED doctor. Urgent laparoscopic surgery was performed to restore the blood supply and save the bowel,” he said. “Without the CT Scan and the communication between the teams, the patient would have become very ill, very quickly.”

Every year, Joseph Brant Hospital conducts diagnostic imaging tests on almost 120,000 patients to diagnose illness – including kidney stones, cancerous tumours and diverticulitis – and develop treatment plans for patients.

“I am regularly reviewing the results of the diagnostic imaging tests performed at the hospital,” said Dr. Rawlinson. “I feel very privileged to play such an integral role in the care of our patients and am so grateful that our patients have access to  state-of-the-art imaging technology that our patients need.”


Maria Del Fine

For Maria Del-Fine, working with mental health & addictions patients in the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) is personal.

Maria completed her degree in sociology, focusing on addictions when she started to recognize some warning signs in herself.

“I started to drink more and more, and started to feel unwell,” she said. “I had to step back and ask for help. I was experiencing suicidal feelings and needed to work on harm reduction.”

For Maria, her drinking was affecting her mental health and reducing the effectiveness of her medication. It was difficult, but she realized she needed to listen to her doctors and realize they were not out to get her.

“I swallowed my pride and knew I needed to make some changes,” she said.

Her experience, and the conflict with her own care team, has ultimately led her to her role as Peer Support Worker at Joseph Brant Hospital. In her role, Maria is able to apply her own experience and be an advocate for the patient.

“I see both worlds, and I’m trying to educate people on the stigma of mental illness,” she said. “We need to treat mental health & addictions as a medical issue, and not a moral issue.”

Maria is an advocate for fluid conversations between patients and clinical staff. She believes in giving patients a voice in their own treatment plan.

In her role, she works with individual patients and groups to share her experience and a representative that “this too shall pass” and working with patients after isolation or seclusion.

“We talk through options for the future and I ask them ‘What is it that you want?’”

For more information about the Mental Health & Addictions Program at Joseph Brant Hospital, visit https://keepcareclosetohome.ca.

Dr. Ajay Manjoo

For over a decade, Dr. Ajay Manjoo has worked at Joseph Brant Hospital as an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in trauma and foot surgery.

An orthopedic surgeon deals with diseases of the musculoskeletal system such as traumatic injuries (fractures of the bone, and tears/sprains of tendons, ligaments and muscles), arthritis, and other painful conditions affecting the bone, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

For Dr. Manjoo, the most rewarding part of being an Orthopedic surgeon is seeing the improvement of someone’s quality of life.  “I’ve been a surgeon for more than 10 years and the best part is seeing that you have improved someone’s quality of life” he says. ”There are still days when I wake up and think, I can’t believe I get to do this,” says Dr. Manjoo.

Dr. Manjoo, is very proud of the way Joseph Brant hospital is able to bring cutting edge surgical techniques to the community of Burlington. He has worked very closely with the hospital leadership to be able to offer patients minimally invasive ankle fusions, achilles repairs, and complex fracture repair.

“We have worked hard to offer these services to the Burlington community and we are becoming a centre of excellence for Orthopedic surgery in Ontario. We have strategically grown our team such that we are now capable of doing procedure that in the past has only been performed at University hospitals,” says Dr. Manjoo.

Apart from providing surgical care to patients, Dr. Manjoo is committed to increasing the academic profile of Joseph Brant Hospital. He is an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at McMaster University and was recently published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine for a study that compared Total Hip Replacement to Hemi-replacement for the treatment of hip fractures.

Dr. Manjoo notes how Orthopedics at Joseph Brant Hospital has evolved to reflect new changes in medicine.

“Foot and ankle surgery has become more minimally invasive using arthroscopy and specialized techniques that allow us to do more complex surgeries with less damage to the soft tissues and with better functional outcomes,” says Dr. Manjoo. “An excellent example of this is how we treat Achilles tendon ruptures. Historically, there has been a high risk of wound complications with this procedure, however with minimally invasive techniques we can now be more aggressive with respect to who we can fix with less complications and better functional results.”

For Dr. Manjoo the best part of working at Joseph Brant hospital is the incredible staff.

“I have never worked at hospital where the staff are so dedicated to helping patients. They go above and beyond to ensure that their patient has a positive experience while they are in their care. What I appreciate the most is that we all have a mutual respect for each others roles in caring for patients. The last two years have been very difficult and have stretched us all to our limits, but the kindness and support that we show each other everyday has really helped us get through it.”

Dr. Ajmal Razmy

Dr. Ajmal Razmy has been working with organizations for years, helping with strategies and approaches for wellness in the workplace. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only made that work more imperative

“The pandemic has basically re-written the landscape of how we work, and as a result, we’ve had to adapt quickly to this monumental change,” said Dr. Razmy, Deputy Chief of Psychology at Joseph Brant Hospital. “We are struggling at an individual level to navigate this new landscape. This thing has blown apart the way we’ve worked.”

Dr. Razmy has worked with a number of large organizations, including the NHL Coaches Association and The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan to tackle some of the everyday challenges of the workplace: conflict management, burnout, and leading teams through challenges. Now, people are layering on the impacts of a pandemic.

“We’re now dealing with things like redeployment, working from home, home schooling,” he said. “But at its core, it’s the same question – how can you support being well in the workplace?”

For Dr. Razmy, it is about taking care of yourself as an individual first, so you can be there to support others. The pandemic has left people feeling dismayed.

“Each wave of the pandemic has brought a new wave of anxiety and the need to adapt and rely on the coping mechanisms we’ve adopted,” said Dr. Razmy. “This ongoing need to rebuild your resiliency – like a dam and there are so many holes right now. That’s why we need people to lean on right now.”

In his role at JBH, Dr. Razmy helps lead a team of Mental Health & Addictions staff who are finding innovative and timely solutions to support our community.

“I’m very proud of our team recognizing the fact that the pandemic is disproportionate in terms of its impact. Marginalized members or our community or those suffering with MHA are hurting,” he said. “I’m proud of our team in recognizing that and coming up with proactive measures and unique ways to make care available to our patient population.

John Dewsnap

John Dewsnap has worked as a Charge Nurse in the Inpatient Mental Health Unit for Joseph Brant Hospital for 20 years.  As the Charge Nurse, John oversees patient flow, supervises nursing staff and monitors the needs of the staff and patients.

John had worked on medical units, long-term care and corrections before coming to Joseph Brant Hospital.

“I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to bring what I’ve learned from the various settings to help me along the way and with my current position,” says John.

Over the years, one of the most memorable moments John remembers was helping a patient who came to their unit after suffering a terrible injury at work.  They were unable to return to their job and suffered many losses because of this.

“I remember sitting with them on several occasions, as they vented and expressed their concerns,” says John.

The team was able to help the patient with medication adjustments and getting connected with support in the community.  “A few years later, they came back to visit us on the unit, to let us know that they were back on their feet and doing well.  They told us that they were very grateful for all the help they got from the staff on the unit, and that they remembered that I let them vent and cry which meant a lot to them,” says John.

Working in the Mental Health & Addictions unit, John has found how incredible the team is.

“The staff are amazing, and we all work together to help people manage their condition.  Whether it be for education surrounding their medications or connecting them with the right resources in the community,” says John.

John notes how the COVID-19 pandemic has made things very difficult for everyone.  Seeing how many people are feeling isolated and lonely, he notes that the Mental Health & Addictions program has grown and been made more accessible for the community.

“Patients that are discharged are able to get follow-up appointments quicker and are better connected to the resources in the community that they need,” says John.  “I would also say thank you to our community and donors because it’s their support and contributions that are helping the hospital continue its mission.”

Jason Tieu

“We are trying to prevent patients from ending up in critical care and on a ventilator. We follow patients in respiratory distress and with low oxygen saturations. There are various therapies such as high flow oxygen and bipap that we can use to try and avoid intubation.”

Jason Tieu is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) at Joseph Brant Hospital for just over three years.  As a RRT at JBH, he takes upon the role of the ICU RRT or the Wards RRT, which covers the Emergency Department, Labour and Delivery, NICU, Paediatrics, Medical and Surgical floors and others. He is also a member of the Code Blue, Code Pink and Critical Care Response Team.

He cares for patients of all ages and in all parts of the hospital.

“We deal with neonates, pediatrics and adults. We can be found at high risk deliveries resuscitating a newborn in the Labour and Delivery Department, receiving a patient from Paramedics with vital signs absent in the Emergency Department, intubating and placing a patient on a ventilator in the ICU and many other areas within the hospital.”

Over the years, Jason speaks on the great learning experiences he’s received from his fellow RRTs, Intensivists, nurses and other JBH colleagues.

“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge over my 3 year career at JBH and especially this past year when dealing with COVID-19 patients we’ve learned new ventilation strategies and procedures when treating this infection.”

Navigating the waves of COVID-19, Jason is proud of how everyone has been able to adapt to the situation and perform their jobs as needed.  Everyone is constantly learning new information, best practices and adapting it to their daily tasks

“The management team in the ICU are doing incredible work with planning and being ready for any type of situation that could arise,” says Jason.

When asked about any particular moments at JBH that stand out to Jason, he explains that there are so many.

“There are many memorable moments at JBH. One moment that sticks out to me happened at the beginning of COVID-19. During the first wave of COVID-19, we had a very sick patient on life support. It took months of hard work to eventually get him off the ventilator where he was able to finally breathe on his own again. One year later, he came back and genuinely thanked all the staff that was part of his care at JBH. It is moments like this that give me hope when dealing with this pandemic.”

With tiring and long working shifts, Jason notes that even the smallest gifts cheer him up.

“I have to say thank you to the donors and the community. When you’re finally done a very long shift and you see thank you cards, letters, small gifts or gestures- it’s seeing those words of thanks that makes me reflect on what I’m doing and what it means to families in my community.”

Rusiri Herath

For the past four years, Rusiri Herath has been working in the inpatient Mental Health Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital.  In her current role as Charge Nurse, she recognizes the importance of being a resource for her colleagues.

“It’s important in mental health that we are able to support not just our patients but our colleagues as well.”

During her time at JBH, Rusiri has seen how much our Mental Health program has evolved and become an incredible environment adapting to new developments in Mental Health care.

“I always learn new things from my patients and what we need to be more aware of,” she says. “Our job isn’t just centered around medication.  We’re building rapport with our patients daily and talking to them about their illness and focusing on their overall well-being.  We focus on the person, not the illness.”

Rusiri and the team are seeing the impacts of COVID-19 on their clients with social isolation and the added precautions. She stresses how it’s important to seek help, and the team at JBH is working every day to break the stigma and support the community with programs and understanding.

“We truly care about our patients.  They come to us in a difficult part in their life, and we motivate and help them thrive and get control of their life.  When we see their progress and see them leave, it’s rewarding to know we’ve helped someone in our community,” says Rusiri.

Noting also how appreciative she is of the community and donors, she adds, “Without the community, our organization wouldn’t be able to provide the level of care our patients deserve.  Contributions are what allows us to provide exemplary care to our patients.”

Rusiri talks about the feeling of community at JBH and the kindness that lives there. “It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is welcoming and polite with smiles on their faces. It really changes your outlook when you work in that kind of environment.  When you come to JBH that’s who you evolve into, you become a better person.”

Jessy Samuel

For Jessy Samuel, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Pharmacy, Laboratory Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging at Joseph Brant Hospital, the Halton Region COVID-19 vaccine clinic is one of her proudest accomplishments.

“For me personally, it’s been such a great thing to be part of a community endeavour,” she said. “We’re giving hope and providing that next step in ending this pandemic.”

As a Burlington resident, it is especially important for Jessy to do something for her community, at her community hospital and seeing the people that she cares about being cared for.

The vaccine clinic at JBH is a true partnership, with Halton Region and Joseph Brant Hospital all playing key roles.

“It’s really been a team effort- screeners, check-in/check-out, registered pharmacy technicians, physicians, nursing students and paramedic students all playing a role,” said Samuel. “That’s in addition to the teams who support the technology, supplies, parking and cleaning needs of the clinic and its patients.

In addition, the feedback from the community about the experience has been overwhelmingly positive for the over 17,000 members of our community who have received their vaccination at JBH as of April 30.

“There is such a positive energy in that space because they been looking forward to this day for so long,” she said. “It’s an honour to be a part of this experience and to improve the health of our community.”

Melissa Peters

Over her 20 years as a Labour and Delivery nurse at Joseph Brant Hospital, Melissa Peters has been there for many of life’s most incredible moments.

“I counted every delivery I was part of at the beginning, but I stopped when I hit 1,000 which was in 2004,” she said.

And of course, there are some families and birth stories that stick out, including a family who had nine children, all at JBH, and Melissa was there for three of them.

But nothing as memorable as delivering a baby in the parking lot.

“We received a call from a volunteer that someone was delivering in the parking lot, and the physician on call was performing surgery,” Melissa said.

She ran down with her care partner Tanya to determine how they could help, but they couldn’t locate the mom. Finally, they saw a man beside a van and asked him if they knew where they were needed.

“He said it was his wife, and pointed to the van,” she said. “When we opened the door the baby was already crowning, and we ended up delivering in the van before taking mom and baby upstairs to L&D.”

For Melissa, the team at JBH, and the Labour and Delivery Unit specifically, is incredibly special.

“We have an amazing team. I can’t say enough about them… we all work so well together. Everyday I’m so thankful I work where I do.”

And while Melissa and the entire L&D team wait for the redevelopment of the unit, they continue to provide compassionate care to our community in the moments that matter most.

“We’re so lucky to have Joseph Brant Hospital in our community,” she said.

Dr. Jeane Viljoen

Dr. Jeane Viljoen is the Inpatient Physician Lead for Joseph Brant Hospital’s Mental Health and Addictions Program. She works with a multidisciplinary team to help patients struggling with mental health in their recovery.  The team follows their patients through their recovery as they transition to community-based care.

“The Mental Health and Addictions program at JBH is a rapidly changing program. There are great and innovative ideas constantly coming down the pipeline.  I think the future for this program is optimistic, and the support we get from the hospital and community will only improve the accessibility of our services for our patients,” says Dr. Viljoen

Dr. Viljoen and the MHA team recently implemented a two-year pilot project with Ontario Shores, that took the most recent evidence and management of schizophrenia and combined that with data collection and record keeping.

“This project discusses how patients are monitored for functional recovery and it helps us focus on best practice across the diagnostic continuum,” says Dr. Viljoen.

Dr. Viljoen credits her time at JBH in helping her expand her practice and treatment of her patients.

“With the experience I’ve received at JBH, I am able to help with teaching and learning opportunities,” says Dr. Viljoen. “We recently started receiving clerks from McMaster and they were joining me in the hospital and in my clinics.”

For Dr. Viljoen, JBH is an extremely special place, and is it the donations from the community that are supporting these innovative programs that are changing lives at the hospital.

“It’s a small hospital, but the people here are amazing.  We’re all a close-knit family working toward excellent patient care. When donations are made to the Hospital or to the Mental Health and Addictions Program, it makes a significant impact for people who are using the services.  We are bettering our community.”