The Cook Family

“It was just like you see on television,” remembers Jane Cook. “Mom’s mouth was drooping, her right side was paralyzed and we knew right away she was having a stroke.”

It was December 30th, 2021 and Jane’s mom MaryJane was rushed to the emergency department at Joseph Brant Hospital where she received a shot to clear the blockage while simultaneously preparing her for transport to a regional centre.

“I was receiving regular updates from Dr. Faulkner, and received a call from the nurse with mom in the ambulance that the shot relieved the clot,” says Jane. “She said I have the best news ever and mom was a good news story for sure.”

MaryJane had been diagnosed with dementia, and had no short-term memory. As a result, the team at JBH decided to admit her to the ICU for monitoring.

“She came home thinking she was a hotel for five days,” says Jane. “The food was good, and the service she received – the people were just so kind.”

Two days later, almost to the minute, Jane was back on the phone with the same 9-1-1 operator as her dad was experiencing similar symptoms.

“He said I can’t feel my hand – get Jane,” she remembers. “He was having trouble putting words together, and wasn’t really steady on his feet.”

The paramedics quickly identified that Frank had indeed experienced a mini-stroke, and brought him to Joseph Brant Hospital.

Frank spent almost three weeks on the rehab floor, where Jane remembers the incredible staff who looked after her father and called her with regular updates.

“All of the nurses were beyond great, beyond knowledgeable, beyond kind,” she says. “The fundamental approach was ‘How can I help you today?’.”

Frank celebrated his birthday in the hospital, and Jane and her siblings worked with the team to send over spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and a chocolate fudge cake.

“I’m so grateful for what they did for my dad,” says Jane. “They found he was dehydrated and had an undiagnosed stroke in the past. It was a blessing in disguise.”

For Jane, Frank and MaryJane, the experience with the team and the care at JBH was second to none.

“I was so impressed with everything,” Jane says. “When I retire, I’d like to work or volunteer at JBH – that’s the environment that makes you want to do better and to be a better person.”

Harsukh Ganatra

Harsukh Ganatra had been suffering with increasing pain and fatigue for a week, when his daughter-in-law Deepa decided it was time for a visit to the Emergency Department at JBH.

“He kept on trying to reassure us that everything was fine, he was okay, but of course, we do worry,” said Deepa. “I pushed them to come to Jo Brant because I knew he was going to get the care he needed, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Upon arrival, he was triaged and taken for bloodwork. After a thorough interview and physical exam by Dr. Hansberger, Harsukh went for a CT scan.  

“Imagine our surprise when shortly after returning from diagnostic imaging, Dr. Hansberger reported Dad had a burst appendix at 83 years old,” said Deepa. 

After consultation with the surgical team, Harsukh was admitted for several days of IV antibiotics and observation. He later returned to JBH to have his appendix removed.

“Throughout this entire process, from the initial visit to the Emergency Department and subsequent admission, to the final surgery, we as a family have been completely overjoyed with the level of care and communication Dad received,” said Deepa. 

Deepa and her husband Kartik are making a gift to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation in recognition of the care Harsukh and other members of their family have received.

“We felt that the experience was so incredible and he was looked after so well, that we felt like this is something we needed to support,” said Deepa. “We wanted to ensure that everyone in our community could access the same level of services and the same level of care that we did.

For the Ganatra family, giving the gift of healthcare is a new way to give this Diwali, and are matching all gifts made up to $100,000.

“We are excited to use donation and match to encourage the wider community to support JBH, especially around the Diwali celebration, when we give thanks for our continued good health, prosperity and happiness,” said Deepa.

Lori Stephenson

When Lori Stephenson moved back to Burlington in 2015, she immediately looked for an opportunity to volunteer.

“It’s important to me to be an active member and contributor to the community in which I live,” she said. “I saw the hospital as the heart of the community and serving on the Foundation Board was a great way to get reconnected to Burlington.”

As Lori completes her six-year term on the Foundation Board of Directors, she looks back proudly on the launch of the Join the J campaign.

“I joined right around the time we launched Join the J. I’m particularly proud to see the branding take root and to be a part of helping to grow that recognition,” she said. “It’s important for the community to connect the work of the Foundation with our Hospital. Join the J has helped strengthen that awareness.”

For Lori, volunteering with the Foundation has helped grow her appreciation for healthcare and healthcare workers.

“We take a lot of our healthcare system for granted because we’ve been told healthcare is provided to us, we don’t fully appreciate how much isn’t a given,” she said. “My time on the board really helped me understand that while our taxes go to provide a level of healthcare support, it isn’t enough. So much of what someone sees and experiences within the Hospital is a result of direct support to the Foundation.”

Lori is proud to live in Burlington and encourages everyone to consider their role in community building.

“We are fortunate enough to live in one of the top-rated cities in the country, and that doesn’t just happen,” she said. “We all have a responsibility to ensure future generations experience the same or better … and that doesn’t come from watching others.”

We recognize Lori and thank all the Foundation volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

Anna Iacobelli

Joseph Brant Hospital has been a part of Anna Iacobelli’s entire life – she was born at the hospital and this year is completing a six-year term on the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.

In between, she volunteered in the ICU, and saw her family receive care for decades.

“My parents were brought back to health many times there, my nieces and great-niece were born there, my grandmother and my father spent their last days receiving excellent care, she said. “The hospital has always been there for me and my family.”

During her time on the JBHF Board, Anna spent two years as Vice-Chair, and two years as Chair, driven by her belief in the power of community and our collective ability to lift each other up in meaningful ways.

During her time on the Board, Anna reflects on the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals, and the community.

“Covid hit us hard – we had to pivot on how we would connect with our donors, stakeholders, volunteers, and our new board members,” she said. “It was so great to see how the board and the community came together and I was so proud of the strength of our hospital and our front line health care team.”

For Anna, volunteering brings diverse people and communities together and encourages others to give back to JBH.

“It’s our community and it’s our hospital – we need to give back because when we need the hospital it will be there for us – so we need to be there for the hospital.”

We recognize Anna for her contributions and wish all our volunteers a very happy National Volunteer Week.

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.”

 

Kirk Tilley and Jane Travers

Joseph Brant Hospital holds a lot of personal memories and meaning for donors, Kirk Tilley and Jane Travers.  Donating to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation was an easy decision, and one that continues to be important to them.

“We’d be crazy not to renew our pledge.  We’ve been involved in the hospital through our own experience but also through family and circumstances.  Not only is the hospital an important part of our community, it also holds a lot of meaning for both of us personally,” says Kirk.

For Jane, Joseph Brant Hospital holds a lot of cherished memories, specifically involving her mother.

Having recently moved to the Burlington community in 1967, Jane’s mother Mary Lou Travers spent 25 years, from 1969 to 1994, as an Operating Room (OR) Nurse at JBH.

“My mother was a remarkable ambassador for the hospital as a care giver, surgical team member and peer.  She impacted many people with her care, and this included patients, doctors, nurses, and support staff.  She wanted the patients from the community to have the best possible experience, and it was important to her to be supportive of her peers as well,” says Jane.

Unfortunately, Mary Lou passed away when she was 56 years old from an aneurysm.  “When my mother passed, I remember people in my community, especially colleagues and former patients, sharing stories about her and how much she touched the lives of so many,” says Jane.  “My mother loved the hospital and was proud of how it helped those in her community.  It meant so much to her.”

Jane wanted to honour Mary Lou by supporting JBH and leave a legacy at a place that holds special meaning to her and the Travers family.  Kirk, like Jane, wanted to support the hospital in some capacity as a result of care he received.

Over 30 years ago, as he and Jane were preparing for their wedding, Kirk found himself not feeling well, and no one could seem to figure out what was wrong.  Mary Lou wanted him to see one of the doctors at Joe Brant.  A short time later, Kirk was admitted to the hospital and met with Dr. Sydney Gee.

“She was unbelievable.  She knew something was wrong and instructed for multiple tests to be run – that day.  She and all the doctors wanted to get to the bottom of it,” recalls Kirk.

“None of the test were conclusive, even the biopsies were coming back normal. Another biopsy was set up to be done in the OR and they did not give up until they found what they were looking for.  Coming out of the surgery, the mystery was solved.  I had, at the time, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Kirk spent 8 months in the oncology clinic and was taken aback by the incredible care he received.

“The culture of the hospital was and still is incredible.  Everyone involved ensured that I was cared for, I can’t speak enough for how compassionate each and every staff member was,” remembers Kirk.

Today, Jane and Kirk continue to have high hopes for JBH and want to see the hospital continue to sustain its compassionate and caring culture.

“JBH is a landmark here in Burlington.  It’s something that is there for the community, and it’s important that in anyone’s time of need, they have a place to go to.  I hope hospital’s longevity keeps going and provides a warm and welcoming space for their staff and community,” says Kirk.

“How fortunate are we to have a hospital in Burlington that continues to build it’s legacy through incredible expertise, compassionate care, utilizing advanced technology, and always looking to the future, and it is right here in the heart of our community and available to all of us,” says Jane.

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.”

TD Bank Group

As we continue to live with the impacts of a global pandemic, we are still facing disruptions in our daily lives. We are searching for a new normal, and while we have all been affected, nobody has felt this more than the children.

Studies have shown that in the last year, more than 50% of children and adolescents have reported clinically significant depressive symptoms.

Children and adolescents have often been overlooked and underserved when it comes to the treatment of mental illness and the pandemic has greatly increased an already urgent need for early intervention and continuity of care throughout a child and adolescent’s care.

However, thanks to the generous support of donors like TD Bank Group, our Child and Adolescent Psychiatric (CAP) program has been there to provide youth, like Lindsay, with the right care at the right time.

Lindsay was struggling with asking for help.

“I come from a family that was always competitive, and wanting to be the best at whatever I did,” she said. “It always felt like there was no time to not be okay.”

When Lindsay was in her first year at Western University, she started to experience anxiety. She was living away from home for the first time and ended up leaving after her second year, feeling very alone and embarrassed to reach out.

“I thought I could push through whatever I was feeling,” she said.

Two years later, she felt like she was to the point that there was no passion or drive left. After a breakup with her boyfriend, and her first year not competing in competitive cheer after 18 years, it became too much to deal with.

“From then it was a continuous battle of many fights with my mom and built-up anger with my whole life to be breaking down,” she said. “The day I called my doctor and balled my eyes out was the first time I felt relief. She explained I was not alone in all the feelings I had.”

After undergoing treatment, Lindsay is the happiest she has ever been.

“I am so grateful for the hard times looking back because it only made me stronger and have a way more positive outlook on life and am a big mental health advocate,” she said. “I still deal with anxiety today, but now I know how to deal with it and how to better myself instead of going down a dark hole again.”

Through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, TD is committed to supporting innovative solutions like the CAP Program that are working to improve adolescent health and helping create more equitable outcomes for all.

Over the past eight years, the CAP Program has seen a 400% increase in referrals, while providing a significant reduction in wait times. Prior to the pandemic, the CAP Program achieved zero wait time for appointments with a child and adolescent psychiatrist, nurse and social worker, down from 52 days in 2013.

The impact on children and adolescents has been particularly hard during the pandemic and, as a result, the CAP Program referrals have increased exponentially over the past 18 months. Loss of control, feelings of uncertainty, and changes to routine are contributing to symptoms of anxiety, low mood, adjustment disorders, eating disorders, and parent-child relational problems.

The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is incredibly grateful to TD for their generosity in supporting leading practice healthcare in our community.

With their outstanding support, Joseph Brant Hospital will continue to deliver on our vision to provide compassionate care and exemplary service, every time for the youth and families in our community.

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.