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Senior praises health-care 'heroes' after recent stay at Barrie hospital

'They are the same after they’ve worked 12 hours as they are when they come in fresh in the morning. I just can’t say enough good things about them,' Springwater resident says following surgery

Ken O’Brien is home recovering from surgery this week, after a visit to the local emergency room earlier this month ended in him having his gallbladder removed.

O’Brien, 80, was admitted to Barrie's Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) on Sunday, Jan. 16, with severe stomach pain.

While there, he underwent an ultrasound and an MRI, which indicated he’d suffered a gallbladder attack.

His doctor at the time decided O'Brien should undergo surgery to have his gallbladder removed, explaining that if he didn’t, he would likely find himself in similar pain in the not-so-distant future. 

Despite the discomfort he found himself in due to the gallbladder attack and the stress of being inside a hospital in the midst of a global pandemic, the Springwater Township resident says his experience at RVH was “over-the-top” positive, adding he felt compelled to share his story.

“The nurses on the fourth floor, or really the nurses anywhere (at the hospital), they are something else. I couldn’t have been treated better,” he told BarrieToday. “They are the same after they’ve worked 12 hours as they are when they come in fresh in the morning.

"I just can’t say enough good things about them."

O’Brien said knowing the pressure all hospital staff have been under the last two years, he was surprised with how positive his experience was.

“You’ve got to take your turn and, sure, if they tell you something is going to happen, it may be a few hours after that, but you’re not doing anything anyways! I am lucky. If they’d sent me home, I may not have gotten back in there for an operation for two months," he said. 

Everyone chipped in to help, O'Brien added. 

“Right down to the cleaning lady. … She got me Kleenex, she plugged my phone in for me. … All you need to do is say thank you. They were so pleasant,” he said. “They deserve all the credit they can get. They are real heroes for what they go through.”

RVH president and chief executive officer Janice Skot wasn’t surprised by the praise, telling BarrieToday that, despite the crushing demands of this latest wave of the pandemic, RVH continues to provide “exceptional” and “compassionate” care.

“After two years of the pandemic, our staff and physicians are mentally and physically exhausted, yet they come to work every day determined to do their very best to keep patients safe and meet their needs,” she said. “Their laser-like focus ensures patients have the best experience possible under these extremely challenging circumstances."

Skot also noted RVH’s 'patient experience' scores have actually increased since the pandemic began, which she said speaks volumes to the commitment and dedication of hospital staff. 

“We recognize what a challenging time this is, particularly with visitor restrictions in place. Our team goes that extra mile, even after long, taxing shifts, to provide comfort to patients. The gratitude and encouragement from patients like Ken goes a long way toward inspiring and uplifting Team RVH.”