Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville. - Spring/Summer 2017

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We’re proud to support research that changes lives.

There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of the communities we work and live in. That’s why CIBC is happy to support the CIBC Celebration of Hope benefiting the Markham Stouffville Hospital Breast Health Centre and Cancer Clinic and the patients they serve. Learn more at






NEWS & COMMUNITY 4 MSH NEWS What’s new at the hospital and in the community. 6 SIGNATURE EVENTS The 26th biennial Disco Ball Gala and the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women.

26 COVER STORY 22 CHAOS THEORY It’s been called “predictably unpredictable.” Get a glimpse of a typical day in the life of the Emergency Department.

8 FUNDRAISING EVENTS Your community, your hospital, your support.

14 KINDNESS IS KIDS’ STUFFF How one boy’s gesture moved a hospital.

HEALTH & MORE 30 HEALTH TIPS How to avoid taking a fall at home.

18 A WORLD VISION The Family Medicine Teaching Unit shares its global approach.

31 ASK THE SPECIALIST Things you should know about shingles and kidney stone treatments.

20 PILLARS OF SUPPORT Getting to know the generous Gibsons.

32 MATTERS OF THE HEART The story of the ‘miracle’ patient.

26 ONE GIANT STEP The benefits of early mobility in the Intensive Care Unit.

10 CALENDAR Upcoming events and fundraisers to add to your schedule. 12 MSHEROES Recognizing the heroic accomplishments of our staff and friends.



14 Cover Photo by: Brian Hamilton




EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Sarah Moore EDITOR Sean Deasy ART DIRECTOR Nick Cangialosi CONTRIBUTORS Vawn Himmelsbach, Kim Hughes, Rachel Naud, Dick Snyder, Maggie Welt PHOTOGRAPHERS Nation Wong, Brian Hamilton PROJECT MANAGER Ashley Burns PROJECT COORDINATOR Melanie Anderson MARKHAM STOUFFVILLE HOSPITAL, EDITORIAL ADVISORS Lisa Joyce, Suzette Strong VICE PRESIDENT SALES, STAR METRO MEDIA Carolyn Sadler PUBLISHER Star Metro Media PRINT & INSERTING SALES MANAGER, STAR METRO MEDIA Robert Wildbore ADVERTISING SALES Melanie Anderson. Jeffrey Hoffman, Star Metro Media, Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.™ is published twice a year by Star Metro Media Content Solutions, in partnership with the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The material in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the material, it does not constitute advice or carry the specific endorsement of either Star Metro Media or Markham Stouffville Hospital. Readers are encouraged to consult their doctor to discuss their health concerns.

It is often said that health care is both art and science. We see examples of that every day. Through the generous support of our donors, we have been able to equip our hospital and our dedicated team of professionals with cutting edge technology and the resources needed to deliver optimal care. We have benefited from many advances in both technology and in medical science in terms of how we treat our patients. However it is what we do with these tools that is so critical. The art of health care is the way in which we interact with our patients, and the way we make our patients feel. There is a quote that says “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” We believe that sentiment extends beyond physicians, to all care providers at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH). Our team at the hospital is continually recognized for making our patients feel like people, never just a number, or just the disease or illness that they have. It’s for this reason that we receive so many compliments about our care. It goes beyond the exceptional clinical care that the team provides. It’s about the way we engage with patients and make them feel unique and like a partner in their journey. This compassionate care, in turn inspires the generous giving from our community. And it is community support that enables MSH to purchase cutting-edge equipment and to access resources that enhance the patient experience. In this magazine you will read about how the art and science of health care come together at MSH. You will learn more about innovative programs and services, and the dedicated teams working in those areas. And you will hear from grateful patients and donors who have experienced this dynamic care first-hand. Thank you for your ongoing interest in MSH. We appreciate being partners in your care and in the community. Best,

Suzette Strong CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Jo-anne Marr President & CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital






WE’RE SOCIAL! We love hearing from our community. Tell us about your experience and why you love MSH. @MSHospital

New role takes care

Sometimes innovation is not just about technology Erin Morelli-Shea

Surgical Liaison Nurse

Bedside Matters This new system combines the art of caring with science.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

If you or a loved one undergoes surgery at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) in the near future you’ll likely meet Erin Morelli-Shea. She’s the registered nurse who’s the first to occupy an innovative new role at the hospital: surgical liaison nurse. “When a patient is in surgery, family members don’t have a connection to their loved one,” says Tracie Scott, Patient Care Manager, Perioperative Services at MSH. “They can have concerns and questions, and there was really nobody to address them.” That is, until now. “The surgical liaison nurse rotates throughout her day to all the different surgical areas’, says Scott, “including the admission unit, operating room, recovery room, family waiting rooms and then up to the floors.” She effectively navigates family members and patients through the process. This ensures that there is

ongoing communication throughout the entire patient journey. “She answers clinical questions along the way, which is why it’s so important that a registered nurse is in the role,” says Scott. “Her clinical knowledge, allows her to rotate through the operating room and the other clinical areas and explain to family members what is happening.” A recent clinical trial period proved to be a massive success with patients and family members. It’s clear to see why. “(Erin) conveys any important updates, where the patient will be located, shows them exactly where they need to be.” She also follows up by phone the next day with any patients in need of additional support. “Sometimes innovation is not just about technology,” says Scott. “It can be the people who bring services to our patients.”

Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) has built a solid reputation for its commitment to paediatric health, safety, and physical well-being. In that spirit, the hospital has implemented a surveillance and documentation system called Bedside Paediatric Early Warning System (BedsidePEWS). The goal of BedsidePEWS is to help health-care professionals recognize and respond to changes in a child’s condition so they can react in a faster and more coordinated way. “This system elevates the level of care that we provide to our paediatric patients,” says Julia Infantino,

Professional Practice Leader for Corporate Respiratory, and Practice Lead for BedsidePEWS. “It empowers the staff and enhances their critical thinking to ensure we provide the best care possible. Early recognition is key.” This system combines the art of caring with the science of best practice to improve health outcomes and patient experience for all our children and their families. BedsidePEWS was originally developed at SickKids Hospital more than 10 years ago with the help of hundreds of paediatric health experts and is now used in more than 20 hospitals around the world.



One shared patient record equals better care and a stronger healthcare system

Markham Stouffville Hospital Stevenson Memorial Hospital Southlake Regional Health Centre

A new partnership is putting patients first by creating seamless access to patient records among three hospitals. Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and Stevenson Memorial Hospital are working together to share patient records through a partnership called the Shared Health Information Network Exchange, or SHINE for short. “We believe that by working together we can maximize our resources, and invest in systems and technologies that will benefit our patients” says Jo-anne Marr, President and CEO of MSH.

Patients who receive care at MSH may also be referred to one of Southlake’s regional programs. With this partnership their health records, including information about past treatments and tests, and other important safety information like allergies, will now be accessible at all three hospitals. This improves safety, and reduces repeating tests; streamlining a patient’s visit to the hospital. Over the coming year, the three hospitals will combine all patient records into one unified system. Members of the patient’s care team, no matter which hospital, will have instant access to the most up-to-date information.

The app that gives back It’s safe to say that Anmol Tukrel knows his way around mobile technology, and he also knows his way around Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) – having been a patient at the diabetes clinic for the last 12 years. He also knows how to give back. “I created this app because MSH’s diabetic clinic has been helping me for the last 10 years,” says Tukrel. “And I thought that this would be a really interesting way to help give back to a community that has been helping me for so long.” Alanna Landry, a diabetes nurse educator at MSH, knew that an educational piece to help teens transition from the paediatric program to adult care would prove useful. Prior to the app, the clinic relied on a paper booklet that offered educational information on lifestyle, risky behaviours, and managing diabetes when you move away from home. But it lacked popularity. “It’s basic information – such as diet,

blood sugar tracking and exercise regime – that teens really need [but] they were leaving the pamphlets in the room because teenagers don’t want paper anymore,” says Landry. Anmol was able to put all the educational material into an app. Now users can download it from the Apple Store and have it all on their phone, as well as monitor their personal diabetes. It’s an innovative way to provide care to MSH patients outside of the hospital and for patients to take an active role in their care as part of their daily routine. “It’s an amazing app,” says Landry. “Our innovation team here was so impressed with the development that Anmol put into it. Now our patients are using it and it will soon be used in paediatric diabetes clinics across Ontario.” The app, which is called Diabetes ID, may well be used by the roughly 80 to 90 teens at MSH and possibly by an estimated 3,000 users province-wide. Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.


Sullivan Family, grateful patient guest speakers – Karyn, Agnes and Allyson

MSH Signature Events Operation Boogie

MSH Foundation’s Disco Ball hits all the right notes To move forward, sometimes you need to rewind. And then hit ‘play.’ And that’s exactly what happened recently at the Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Centre & Spa as 700 business leaders, dignitaries and community members got their boogie on for what’s become the largest fundraising event in the Markham and Stouffville area. The 26th biennial Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation gala – The Disco Ball – graciously hosted once again by Canadian radio icon Erin Davis, who now lives in British Columbia – returned in late April in fine bell-bottom style, this time in support of the near $3 million expansion of the hospital’s Interventional Radiology (IR) program. “It’s so important to keep Markham Stouffville Hospital at the cutting edge of technology and medical care, so that we, in turn, can provide the community with the excellent care they need,” says Suzette Strong, CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation. “And it is evenings like these, with the funds raised through our community, that make all the difference.” Interventional Radiology, commonly known as “surgery without scars”, allows doctors to diagnose and treat disease with minimal invasion. The technique allows for shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times, less painful procedures and better overall health outcomes.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

From left: Tracy and Neville Pather all smil es after winning a 2017 Hyundai Elantra LE from Arthur Leung, Don Valley North Hyu and Amin Tejani, Wei ndai ns Canada – Automo bile Sponsor

That spirit of community and purpose was once again palpable at this year’s Disco Ball, where two guest speakers – both grateful patients – brought the evening’s objective into sharp focus in the most poignant manner. First, former patient Kate Macdonald gave thanks to her parents, to Dr. Mark Berber and to the entire community for her recovery. “I am so proud to be a part of a community of people that realizes the need for the hospital. To everyone who donates generously and selflessly, keep doing what you do. I am living and breathing proof of the valuable work being done through your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” And later Agnes Sullivan took the stage flanked by her two daughters, Allyson and Karyn, son-in-law, Rob, and eight-month-old granddaughter, Madelyn. Agnes fought through tears to eloquently tell of her late husband Michael’s fight with gall bladder cancer and how the people at MSH helped mark his passing with respect and dignity. She also told of her own battle with colon cancer and underlined the vital role Markham Stouffville Hospital continues to play in her family’s lives. “We receive care that could only be given in an environment like Markham Stouffville Hospital, treated with just the right dosage of humour, individuality and compassion.”


Marr, rd Chair, MSH, Jo-anne , MSH Thomas Barlow, Boa , Suzette Strong, CEO MSH , CEO and t Presiden Thomas, MacDonald Family nda Foundation with the Rho e n MacDonald alongsid Kate, Cathy, and Eva ognizing MSH Foundation – Rec ir, Cha rd Boa lish, Eng nsor, ily and Presenting Spo tions. the MacDonald Fam their generous contribu The Village Grocer for

in the reception Quisha Wint performing ‘70s hits Metropia generously sponsored by Minto and Radio Icon, Erin Davis returns

to emcee for her 8th year


Agnes’ emotional story helped kick off the fundraising success of the live auction and equipment appeal to purchase an ultrasound machine with a price tag of $75,000. Donors Carlo & Angela Baldassarra, Thomas Barlow, Century 21 Leading Edge Realty, Inc., Xerxes Cooper, Cosimo Crupi, Jim Greig (Edzar Group), David McDougall, Evan MacDonald, Rhonda English, Todd & Marcia Finlayson, JD Property Canada Corp., L’Oro Jewellery, Emilio Ronco and Tony Mauro (Fairgate Homes), Neville Pather, James Salem, Krista Scaldwell, Agnes Sullivan, Yvonne Sharma (Silver Leaf Day Spa), Khalid Usman and Yan Zhou – all together, contributed to over $100,000 to help purchase the ultrasound machine and other essential equipment for the IR Suite. Kind thanks go to this year’s Presenting Sponsor, The Village Grocer, and the Reception Sponsors, Minto and Metropia, and all the generous sponsors for their efforts and support. With the generosity of the community, over $500,000 was raised throughout the evening!


On a particularly wet and cold Sunday in late April close to 1,800 participants, including 10 department teams from Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) and 18 York Region high schools, gathered in Unionville in support of a vital cause. The annual “SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women” featured women, family members, colleagues and friends completing 10K, 5K walk/runs. Shoppers Drug Mart and its local stores and staff are true champions of putting women’s health first. For the second consecutive year, Shoppers Drug Mart has chosen to direct funds to benefit women’s mental health care at MSH. Research indicates that women are one and a half times more likely to struggle with mood or anxiety disorders than men. Proceeds from the day’s events will help MSH – a leader in mental health treatment in York Region – to create opportunities for wellness through early intervention. Collectively, the participants’ generosity and commitment from Shoppers Drug Mart helped raise $170,000 toward that worthy goal.

$170,000 raised at this year’s Shoppe rs. LOVE. YOU. Run for Women Unionville L-R: Ham at Bhana, Owner/Pharmacist , Shoppers Drug Mar t, Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation, Tracey Dell, Vice President, Operatio ns, Shoppers Drug Mart, Genaia Darragh, District Man ager, Shoppers Dru g Mart, Jo-anne Marr, Preside nt & CEO, MSH Crossing the finish line with MSH Emergency Team Gridlock.





Gift Wrapping at CF Markville Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation with one of the many corporate gift wrapping teams – Sutton Group-Heritage Realty Inc. Brokerage – Kelly, Joan and Gail

10th Anniversary of the Amici Spa Gala DiMartino Family – Dan of recognition from iela, Andrew, Cory rece Dr. Mateya Trinkaus, Dr. Angelo Vivona and ive a plaque Allan Bell

Epidemic Music Group’s Official The Guinness Book of World Records Attempt Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Justin Altmann and MSH Foundation’s Allan Bell with the Epidemic Music Group at the Earl of Whitchurch-Stouffville on the launch of their Guinness World Attempt on St. Patrick’s Day

Fall-Winter Community Event Highlights It’s the community that makes our hospital the best that it can be. So thanks to our supporters for your stellar fundraising efforts. Here’s what you did over the past few months. See more photos on our social media pages @MSHospital

ons representatives kie Campaign Tim Hort ue of & Stouffville Smile Coo elman present a cheq Fint n Gillia and i, Tim Hortons Markham mbr n t Peate, Sebastian Sche Smile Cookie Campaig 2016 - Jeff Thompson, Mat the from tion of MSH Founda $65,598 to Allan Bell

les Life Since 2008, Smi Associates Smiles for of patients Dr. Kevin F. Brown & to benefit the tiniest ,000 $35 over d for Life has raise here is Dr. Kevin F. nsive Care Unit, pictured at MSH’s Neonatal Inte Brown with Allan Bell


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Paramount Markham Grand Opening The Honourable John McCallum, Saqib Malik, Paramount Markham Owner, Mohamad Fakih, Paramount Founder and CEO, Jo-anne Marr, President & CEO, MSH, Khalid Usman, Past Board Chair


Shumaker at CF Markville Fundraising Campaign Last year, Shumaker at CF Markville donated $1 for every shoe sold to MSH - Ishan Singh , Director of Operations, Shumaker, Chelsea Chan, Assistant Store Manager, Claralynn Janssen, Store Manager present $5,900 to Allan Bell, MSH Foundation


Clubs4Cancer Golf Tournament Committee chairs Lloyd Dow, York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe, and York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson present the proceeds from this tournament benefiting cancer care at MSH to Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation

Svengali Salon’s 30t h Anniversary Event Allan Bell presents a of recognition on beh certificate alf of the City of Mar kham to congratulat Datardina for 30 year e Shiraz s of his salon

TCK Fine Homes 1st Annual Valentine’s Fundraiser The Filntissis Brothers – George, Frank and John present Madeline Cuadra, MSH Foundation with proceeds from their event benefiting cancer care at MSH

Shoppers LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health Allan Bell of MSH Foundation receives a cheque to benefit women’s health at MSH from Shoppers Drug Mart reps - Warren Van Langenberg, Hamat Bhana, Derek Ho, Tracey Dell and Genaia Darragh.

Aliyah’s Courage Gala was held on Nov. 18, 2016 to help raise awareness of TYPE 1 diabetes. Aliyah presents $1,000 to Madeline Cuadra, MSH Foundation to benefit diabetes care at MSH and Wendy to Wear Pink Allan Bell le Firefighter’s Care the Exclusive Whitchurch-Stouffvil e Firefighters selling ffvill Stou rchtchu Whi caption Punchard of MSH with care irts to benefit cancer Pink Awareness T-Sh








No event is too big or too small. Every dollar counts! To find out more, visit or contact Madeline at, 905.472.7373 ext. 6970


Councillor Ho’s 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament Angus Glen Golf Club Join community and business leaders at this golf tournament benefiting MSH. Contact Melody at


Markham-Unionville Ladies Golf Tournament Station Creek Golf Club Ladies golf tournament benefiting cancer care. Call Karen at 416.666.7403,


7th Annual MSH Leaders Night at the Races - Woodbine Racetrack Enjoy a lovely dinner, cocktails, an amazing track-side view, auction, raffle and networking opportunities. Contact Madeline at 905.472.7373 ext. 6970,,


NOV. 4&5 Angus Glen Fall

14 MON. AUG. 14 THURS. JUL. 20

18th Annual Alex Chiu Golf Tournament Angus Glen Golf Club Alex Chiu, Ward 8 Councillor for the City of Markham hosts its annual tournament. Contact


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

33rd Annual MSH Foundation Golf Tournament Enjoy a day of golf, auctions, and great food at the prestigious York Downs Golf & Country Club. Sponsorship opportunities available, contact Allan at 905.472.7395, or visit

Race Weekend Angus Glen Golf Club This weekend event has a race for everyone. Participate in either Saturday’s 5K or Kids 1K and Sunday’s 10K or Half Marathon. Early bird rates apply – sign up before it sells out! Contact


Horizon Gala Premiere Ballroom and Banquet Hall Hosted by Canada-HK New Horizon Lions Club – enjoy a fashion show, dancing, lucky draws, and more! Contact











If you’ve visited Markham Stouffville Hospital’s information desk on any given Wednesday afternoon since the hospital opened 27 years ago, you’ve likely met Marj Kember. The veteran volunteer may have even come around the desk to give you a gentle hug. Sometimes, she says, “I just have to.” Kember appreciates the vast size and scope of the hospital and believes her contribution is to provide a sense of direction. Literally. “I help cut down on wandering by giving people good directions.” She enjoys meeting people and thrives on


offering help, but she also loves knowing that her time is appreciated. “It’s an exchange,” she says of her nearly three decades of service. “I give whatever I can when I’m there, but I get so much more back.” The Kember family has a proud legacy at MSH: her father was a founding member of the hospital, and now two younger generations are registered nurses. And Kember herself began volunteering as soon as the hospital opened. “I was so thankful to have a local hospital that I just had to get involved,” she says. “It was my civic duty.”

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

For Dr. Jeff Martow, the “eyes” have it. In fact, they always have: he was first drawn to ophthalmology in medical school because he found it to be the most fascinating subject. Today, 26 years later, he still feels the same. “It’s a topic I’ve never tired of, or wanted to stop reading about,” he says. Dr. Martow has spent his entire career at Markham Stouffville Hosptial, and there’s nowhere else he’d rather be. “The community is very diverse,” he says. “It covers a wide geographic area, and many cultures, and all of my patients are very appreciative of the hospital, and

open to my advice.” He is also deeply grateful that many of them make donations of money and time to express their appreciation for having such great care available locally. Dr. Martow, who will see as many as 600 cataract patients a year, is passionate about surgery and the impacts it can have on his patients. “It’s so gratifying to be able to change people’s lives so dramatically. To give people their vision back is such a gift both for them and for me.” Many a pleased patient asks if they can give him a hug. And, he says, he obliges.








Catherine Harney knows that many people come through the doors of a hospital on serious business. Patients, in particular, may be nervous, tense or even scared. And that’s precisely where she knows she can make a difference – with each and every person. As the receptionist with Patient Access and Preferred Accommodation, Harney’s primary job is, “to give patients and visitors the very best first impression possible.” She certainly has no shortage of opportunities: the main desk registers an average of 700 patients daily.

Harney, who completed her training as a medical secretary in 1988, always knew she wanted to work in this capacity. Harney is passionate about patient interaction and, “loves that no two days are the same.” And one certainly stands out: The day she secured a wheelchair for a patient in labour, only to assist in the sudden and safe delivery of the woman’s baby – in an elevator. Afterwards, Harney bid a hasty retreat back to her workstation, still shaking with exhilaration, but “already worrying about all of the patients I’d left waiting at the desk.”

Katie Turkington has an unquenchable thirst for learning. It’s one of the main reasons she went back to school in 2007 to become a Nurse Practitioner. And it’s her innate sense of curiosity that buoys her as she offers comprehensive geriatrics consultation for frail seniors. Turkington works at the hospital both with inpatients and in the outpatient Seniors Health Clinic. What does she finds most fulfilling? “The clinical side of interacting with patients and their families,” says Turkington, who was named an MSHero with a donation from the


grateful family of one of her patients. She characterizes her role as providing interventions and education that focus on her patients’quality of life and dignity - regardless of how long or short her interactions with her elderly patients and their families may be. Turkington is grateful for the introduction last year of geriatrician, Dr. Raza Naqvi. “It makes the hospital an even more important part of the community.” She is so proud to be surrounded by a wonderful team who are truly making a difference in the lives of local seniors.





Andrew Easun and Mick Cavanagh


How one simple act of compassion can move us all

“I see him do things like this randomly” - Sherry Fockler

Mother of Mick Cavanagh

By: Rachel Naud Photos by: Brian Hamilton


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation


ometimes the smallest people can make the biggest impact on others. The staff and patients at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) witnessed this recently when the spontaneous generosity of a 13-year-old boy brightened the day of an even younger patient in need of cheering up. It was mid-December when Mick Cavanagh was at the MSH Fracture Clinic with his mom, Sherry Fockler, getting a final X-ray to see how his broken kneecap was healing. Although he was still dependent on crutches, Mick was on the road to recovery – a relief for the then-13-year-old who’s an avid BMX rider and hockey player. Yet, when he exited the X-ray room, his joy was cut short by a sight he could simply not ignore. Waiting for his own X-ray, seven-year-old Andrew Easun and his mom, Diana, were crying in the waiting room. Not only had Andrew broken his leg just weeks before Christmas, but they had just found out they would have to cancel their vacation to Colombia as the six-hour flight would be too long to endure with his injury.


Mick went over to the boy to try to soothe him. He showed Andrew his crutches and tried to reassure him that once his cast was on, the pain would go away. They chatted about sports – Andrew broke his leg playing hockey – and Mick assured him, although he wouldn’t be able to play for the next few months, he would, indeed, be playing hockey again once he healed. When they finished chatting, Mick walked away to see his doctor and Andrew went in for his X-ray. That’s when Mick had an idea, and went directly to the hospital lobby, where he had seen a special holiday display of bears, to buy Andrew a stuffed toy. Not just any stuffed toy, of course. The furry little object at the heart of Mick’s act of kindness was none other than a bear from Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation’s Buy a Bear program. Since late last year, visitors have been purchasing these snuggly stuffies for patients in the hospital. Providing comfort to those who need it most. All funds go toward purchasing much needed, life-saving equipment for the hospital. Mick’s motivation that day w a s m o r e immediate. “I’ve been there before and I knew how he was feeling,” says Mick. “I just felt like giving him a bear so he would have something to feel good about. So, I walked back to him, handed him the bear and said ‘I hope this makes you feel better and I hope you have a better day.’” It was a small gesture that had a big impact on Andrew as well as the staff at the hospital, including Jay Movasseli, the senior orthopedic technologist who was putting the cast on Andrew. “My eyes watered up,” says Movasseli. “The richest person in Markham wouldn’t have thought to do what this 13-year-old boy did. It

was very touching.” Andrew’s mom, Diana, was especially touched by the gesture. “I was very surprised he did that, and Mick’s mom told us it was Mick’s idea,” says Diana. ”It was such a beautiful example of how other people can have compassion, no matter how old you are.” The only person who wasn’t that shocked by Mick’s gesture was his mom, Sherry, who has witnessed her son’s kindness over the years. “I was moved,” she says. “I see him do things like this randomly. It moves you in a positive way. You try to teach your kids to do the right thing and help others in the community. But it’s still very warming as a parent.” Mick says he tries to help others as much as he can and often does things like help seniors carry groceries or shovel their driveways in the winter. “It makes you and others feel good and it can show other people how nice or generous you are to others,” says Mick. “Someone could be having a bad day but you can cheer them up by offering to carry their groceries or by buying them a teddy bear.” The act of kindness has had a lasting effect. It has inspired Andrew and his mom to pay it forward. In fact, Diana says they have since looked for opportunities to do the same for another upset child in the hospital during their follow-up visits for Andrew’s injury. “We want to show the same compassion,” says Diana. Today, while Andrew’s cast is gone and he’s back playing the sport he loves, he will always remember that random act of kindness that made a world of difference to him. It sits in its place on Andrew’s bed every night, it’s a teddy bear named ‘Mick.’


A CUDDLY WAY TO SHOW YOU CARE. Buy a Bear and make someone’s hospital stay a little more bearable.


“A beautiful example of how other people can have compassion, no matter how old you are” - Diana Easun







or Dr. Jaisy Yang, it was Markham Stouffville Hospital’s (MSH) focus on global health that attracted her to a residency in family medicine. “The majority of resident physicians who come here are interested in that component – that’s what this teaching site is known for,” says Yang, who is now doing maternity leave coverage at the hospital after two years in residency. “I wanted to go into family medicine for the continuity of care and being more intimately involved in how my patients are doing.” A resident physician is a doctor who has received a medical degree and who practises medicine under the supervision of licensed physicians, usually in a hospital or clinic. Certification in family medicine requires the successful completion of post-graduate training; this is a requirement for a license to practise independently in Canada. The University of Toronto (U of T) Department of Family and Community Medicine has the largest family medicine residency program in Canada, and MSH is one of 14 teaching sites in the province. Resident physicians specializing in family medicine are assigned to MSH’s Family Medicine Teaching Unit (FMTU) for two years and care for patients with a variety of chronic and acute illnesses. MSH takes on nine resident physicians each year. “I think overall [the global health focus is about] being more culturally sensitive and learning to work with more vulnerable populations and people whose backgrounds are different from your own,” says Yang. “That approach is good for anyone practising medicine, but especially family medicine.” The accredited program trains family doctors and provides enhanced curriculum on global health, which helps them better under-


stand the community’s diverse patient needs and serves Ontario’s multicultural, multiethnic population. For resident physicians, the program includes a global health elective over four weeks, where they have the option of spending a month overseas at a global health site (FMTU has partnerships in the Philippines, Brazil, Ethiopia, and China) or working with vulnerable populations more locally, such as at the Crossroads Clinic, Toronto’s first hospital-based refugee health clinic. “Our teaching site is known for global health, and that has been an attractive point for many of those [resident physicians],” says Dr. Alan Monavvari, Chief of Family Medicine at MSH and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. “Our doctors can get the experience of working outside Canada and learning something from other health-care systems; we’ve created that niche for us here.” During her time as a resident physician, Yang and a colleague travelled to Brazil as part of their global health elective to work in one of the country’s publicly funded family health clinics. “Family clinics are quite new in Brazil. We did a lot of educational exchange with how things work here versus how things work there,” she says. “Coming back from somewhere where the culture is so different, you develop a much greater appreciation of where your patients are coming from,” she adds. That helps to foster a more culturally sensitive approach, which is something Yang will take with her when she opens her own family medicine clinic. There’s also recognition that ‘global health’ is a need right here at home. “Soon we realized you don’t need to travel a long distance to get those kinds of experiences; Markham has one of

“The global health focus is about being more culturally sensitive”


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation


the most culturally diverse communities in Canada and patients with different ethnic backgrounds,” says Dr. Monavvari. That’s why providing help to vulnerable populations in the GTA has been added into the program’s global health mix. Indeed, the FMTU is in the process of changing ‘global health’ to ‘health equity,’ to reflect this need. “Let’s focus on what we do really well for the global health community in Markham,” says Dr. Monavvari. Dr. Sheila Yuen is one of FMTU’s program directors, along with Dr. Amanda West. Yuen has been involved with the teaching unit from the start, when it opened its doors in May 2010 to its first resident physicians. The U of T’s Department of Family and Community Medicine had been looking for additional sites because of an increasing number of trainees going into family medicine, and MSH was an ideal fit. Family medicine residency training takes two years. “We are what we call a horizontal program, meaning residents have their own practice of about 200 patients who they take care of throughout their two years,” says Yuen. That means they spend three half-days every week providing care for their patients; the rest of the time they take part in specialty rotations, learning about different aspects of medicine. When they finish their residency, they continue to care for those patients – always under the supervision of the hospital’s most experienced medical staff. “There is strong interest in teaching cultural sensitivity, the determinants of health, and making sure we provide comprehensive care for patients of different cultural backgrounds,” she says. “All teaching has a focus on that.” When it comes to global health,

a lot of people think that means venturing overseas and working with populations in third-world countries. “We want to draw it back to health equity,” says Yuen. “Some residents are not interested in going [abroad], but there’s lots of health equity in the city – underserviced areas and populations – and we want to encourage that as well.” Part of the residency program involves regular lunch-and-learns funded by the generous support of donors who give to the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

Dr. Jaisy Yang

Speakers present on relevant global health topics, from what’s going on in Syria to dealing with transgender health. There’s a different theme each month, such as HIV where they discuss high-risk countries and how health care is delivered there, and delves into the effects of poverty on health from inner city communities to third-world countries. “Even within our clinical training we try to focus on patient backgrounds,” says Yuen. That includes how a patient perceives health care


in his or her country of origin; if they’re well supported socially; and if there are cultural or religious concerns that need to be addressed. Recent immigrants, for example, may not understand the health-care system in Canada, may not have social networks, or may face language barriers. That needs to be addressed when providing care and treatment options. “We’re well positioned in Markham because we’re the most diverse population within the GTA,” says Yuen. “We have lots of opportunities within our Family Medicine Teaching Unit to see patients from all over the world, including refugees.” Aside from taking on a more global perspective, the FMTU also aims to teach resident physicians to be comprehensive in their approach to medicine. “We want to make sure they’re comfortable in all areas of practice, from newborns to the elderly,” says Yuen, “so we have teachers who are specialized in areas from palliative care, to obstetrics, to the emergency department, and a variety of faculty to provide that support for residents.” The teaching unit has clear benefits for resident physicians, helping them gain the skills and experience they need to practise family medicine; some are hired on after their residency, while others go on to start their own practise in the community. But it also benefits doctors, patients and the community at large. “There are many benefits for the hospital and patients when you’re a teaching hospital,” says Dr. Monavvari. Students are always questioning things and learning the latest trends in medicine. “As a teacher, I need to keep up with my students,” he says. “The quality of care is often much h i g h e r a t teaching hospitals.”






The Gibsons are a vital part of the MSH community

A Diane and John Gibson

“A healthy community has – at its core – a healthy hospital.” That’s the wisdom of Markham resident John Gibson and his wife Diane – and it’s about as true as it gets. It’s also the reason the couple has contributed well over $1 million dollars to the hospital foundation over the years, while being actively instrumental in bringing in quite a bit more than that. “We’ve done a little arm-twisting, let’s just say,” explains Diane with a laugh. The couple’s candour is clearly key to the continued suc-


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

cess of their fundraising efforts. “People will listen to us because we’ve done it ourselves. We put our money where our mouth is,” says Diane. The Gibsons are deeply thoughtful about their commitment to the Markham Stouffville Hospital, describing the pivotal role the hospital plays in the fabric of their lives. And not just their own lives, but the lives of their friends and families – three adult children plus grandkids – as well as the 25 employees who work for their company.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of E.E.S. Financial Services, which the Gibsons launched in Montreal in 1968. After moving to Ontario in 1979, they maintained an office in Toronto’s financial district while living in Markham. Eventually they moved the company offices to Markham too. “As far as I’m concerned we have the best of both worlds. We live on the outskirts of the biggest city in Canada and we can walk to the office, or get to the hospital in five minutes if we need to,” says John, who sits on


the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation board. In 2008, for the 40th anniversary of E.E.S, the Gibsons wanted to do something special for the community that had been such an important part of their success and happiness. The Campaign for Expansion was just gearing up and so the couple decided to make a splash. They personally donated $1 million dollars. They were the first non-corporate donor to give such an amount. “That allowed the hospital to go to other people and say the Gibsons did this – and it really sparked some energy in the contributions and they ended up exceeding their target,” says Diane. Th e G i b s o n s h a v e m a d e s o l i d u s e o f t h e hospital’s services for issues g r e a t a n d s m a l l , i n c l u d i n g Diane’s appendectomy and a m i n o r h e a r t a t t a c k , a n d John’s stroke. (He calls it minor, though

admits the doctors might say otherwise.) And there have been a few other episodes along the way that have brought them to the emergency department. “The care has always been excellent – and I need to point out that we had used the hospital many times before we’d ever made a donation,” says Diane. “That is not the reason we get such great care. Everyone gets that level of care.” Diane’s heart attack brought her into contact with the hospital’s Dr. Ajai Pasricha for ongoing care. “We were chatting and the doctor mentioned how he wanted to expand the cardiac department. And one piece of equipment in particular – an echocardiography machine – was a key element.” With its sophisticated non-invasive imaging capabilities, the machine saves lives in a very real way. “What can happen,” says Diane, “is that someone comes out of a


successful cancer treatment but the treatment can be very hard on the person’s heart. So they leave the hospital and then have a heart attack. This machine can help detect if this will be a problem so the doctors can treat it.” Diane told John about the hospital’s need for the machine and they decided – on the spot – to cover the $150,000 price tag. “It’s not just about being altruistic,” says Diane. “Because, the fact of the matter is, we have our families in Markham and our staff live here, and they’ve had babies born here, and our grandson has had broken limbs. And we think of ourselves as a healthy family – but still, Markham Stouffville Hospital is right there to help us.” An optimist by nature, John is eager to point out all of the good things the hospital has to offer – which naturally steers the conversation to babies. “Babies are born, friendships are formed,” John says. “We are now good friends with many of the staff and doctors. There are lots of happy events that arise out of a hospital stay.” Diane points out that MSH’s Centre for Childbirth and Children’s Services is so well regarded that people come from neighbouring towns. “They will do whatever they can t o h a v e t h e i r babies at Markham Stouffville Hospital!” John hopes that in leading by example others in the community will come forward and help the hospital as continual support is essential. “It is a very worth while cause and it may be one of the most significant investments anyone can make,” he says. “The hospital really is the cornerstone of our w e l l - b e ing .” Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.




Cari McCulloch


A day in the life of the ER


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

While no one knows what the day ahead will bring, there is a ‘typical’ day in a hospital emergency department: organized chaos. “It’s predictably unpredictable,” says Dr. Andrew Arcand, Chief of the Emergency Department at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH). “Those of us here accept it; quite frankly, we like it. But it means you need a system


Nafeesa Fatima

that flexes depending on what’s happening within the department, and your staff need to work together but also independently.” As a large community hospital, MSH’s Emergency Department (ED) sees everything from minor ailments to life-threatening injuries, and acute illnesses in evolution. The ED provides initial assessment and treatment, after which patients may be admitted to hospital, transferred to a specialty hospital or discharged. “You can see anything that comes through [the door], as minor as ‘I stubbed my toe’ to someone who was in a car crash on the 407, and all things in between. Some days are quiet, some days are hectic,” says Emergency Physician Dr. Philip Moran. In December 2010, MSH broke ground with a $50 million expansion campaign, led by the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation. This doubled the size of its facility and tripled the size of the ED, while increasing access to surgical, oncology and maternal health services. The new ED, which opened in March of 2013, is more spacious, offering private rooms with sliding glass doors

and curtains. “We have 24 beds in the department four offload bays for ambulances, plus stretcher rooms – but we don’t keep people there unless we have to,” says Cari McCulloch, ED Facilitating Nurse. “The challenging days are high volume, high acuity, not enough stretchers, all when the hospital’s full. Fortunately, we have a really great team and everyone works together very well.” There are procedures in place if the hospital sees a sudden influx of patients. There are also specialists on its crisis team (which provides urgent assessment and intervention for individuals in the acute stages of illness or experiencing a psychiatric crisis), and a mental health inpatient program providing acute care for patients requiring admission on a voluntary or involuntary basis. MSH established a dedicated and safe space for patients who come in ‘in crisis’ with mental health. This support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “And we have pharmacists, social workers, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists that are assigned

to the ED on any given day,” says McCulloch. “There’s always someone we can call.” In addition to specialists and access to MSH’s various departments, triage nurses are highly trained and skilled, with years of ED experience under their belts. Nafeesa Fatima, a Geriatrics Practitioner in the ED, says being a triage nurse requires an extensive skillset. “It’s the first point of contact that a patient sees in the emergency,” she says. “They’re triaging patients from less acute to most acute and making that first clinical judgement in the five to 10 minutes they spend [with the patient].” Following the expansion of MSH, emergency doctors and triage nurses found they were being pulled away from patient care to answer questions about wait times. To help increase communications with waiting patients and better meet their expectations, MSH introduced wait time clocks in the ED at both its Markham and Uxbridge sites, followed by the launch of an online wait clock, accessible on any mobile device. MSH is one of the first hospitals in Ontario Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.



to implement this innovation. “We post our wait times in our waiting room and online,” says Dr. Arcand. “It’s pretty accurate, and it allows folks to know what they’re up against when they walk in the door.” People waiting to see a doctor can view, in real-time, information about the current state of the ED. The average wait time to see a doctor is about an hour; the worst-case scenario sits at two hours; however, care is often initiated by a triage nurse before the patient sees a doctor. “We’re ranked in the top 10 in the province [for wait times],” says Dr. Arcand, who adds that almost all patients are seen by a provider within two hours. The least complex patients stay just over two hours, and those with more complicated issues – such as those that require blood work, ultrasound scans and CAT scans – could result in a stay of four or five hours, or more. MSH also has processes in place to help prevent a return to the ED and provide reliable and timely follow up assessments, and ED patient referrals to clinics is helping to reduce the number of hospital admissions. “We have a robust follow-up process with our consultants,” says Dr. Moran. “I have the ability to arrange follow up with surgeons, allergists, gynecologists, you name it. I also have access to a number of clinics at the hospital for acute follow up, such as fracture clinics, stroke clinics and internal medicine.” In addition to telling a patient to check in with their family doctor to get tests done, Dr. Moran can ensure those tests happen in a timely manner and that patients have the appropriate follow up with the right people. “That’s something that’s quite unique to Markham.” MSH’s Paediatric Ambulatory


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Clinic, for example, provides consultation for patients, from newborns to 18-year-olds. This clinic sees patients referred from ED, where it’s been determined that additional assessment by a paediatrician would help define the best plan of care (and who otherwise might return to the ED). There’s also an Early Pregnancy

We’re ranked in the top 10 in the province

Assessment Clinic, as part of Obstetrical Outpatient Services, supporting women under 20 weeks of pregnancy with threatened or real pregnancy loss. “Those are patients who we have traditionally seen back in emerg,” says Dr. Arcand. Once patients are discharged, MSH is making it easier to maintain a care plan through Dash MD. For easy access to discharge instructions, patients can download the Dash MD app onto their smartphones to access treatment-specific after-care instructions, and manage medications and follow-up appointments. “Historically we have given our follow-up instructions in pamphlet form,” says Dr. Arcand. “We could do that, or we could encourage you to download this app that has a certain selection of our pamphlets in an online form. It also allows you to book follow-up appointments and send reminders – it’s something patients really like.”

Patients can also use the ‘Discover Community Care’ section to connect with external care providers, and use the ‘To Do’ checklist and ‘Medication’ and ‘Appointment’ tools to better manage their treatment. Aside from making the ED experience better for patients, MSH is investing in innovations to improve service and care. One of the biggest innovations in emergency medicine, for example, is the bedside ultrasound, which is used at the point of care to evaluate an emergency medical condition and make immediate patient-care decisions. It can be used for anything from cardiac issues to trauma, internal bleeding, early pregnancies, eye issues and nerve blocks – where conventional diagnostic methods would take too long in an emergency. “Our program is in the early stages and we really need to grow it,” says Dr. Arcand. “Currently, we have one machine and we see 250 patients a day.” With funding from the MSH Foundation, the ED will now be able to purchase a second machine. “We’re in a situation where we can expand our program, so that’s something that will really change practice for a dramatic number of doctors.” Another innovation that’s evolving is paramedicine. York Region’s EPIC (Expanding Paramedics in the Community), for example, is a pilot program that links York Region Paramedic Services with several Family Health Teams to perform scheduled and unscheduled home visits for at-risk patients. While much is being done to improve the patient experience when patients are often at their most vulnerable, these types of innovations will help ease the burden on emergency services, and ultimately provide even better care to the community.







Per day in the Chemotherapy and Medical Day Clinics

To support cancer care including Pain & Symptom Management Clinic

Patients were treated in Chest Pain Clinic

For Cardiac care, including external pacemakers, ECG carts and Chest Pain Clinic


POWER $70,000

for Emergency Department equipment, including bladder scanners and vital signs monitor (impacting 93,000 ED patients)


your giving

In the last 3 years, $12

million was

$1 MILLION + For Business Intelligence system (BI tool) plus other IT upgrades & enhancements

given to Markham Stouffville Hospital for equipment purchases and other

priority needs. $6.6 million was raised in 2016, alone. Here’s a glimpse of the impact of these generous donations. *As of March 31, 2017, $4.4 million was disbursed to MSH.

$504,000 For new patient beds, including paediatric cribs




600 bears bought through the Buy a Bear program

Patient visits to the Adult Diabetes Clinic

Mental health patients participated in yoga and music therapy

(2,750 active/unique patients)





GIANTstep Early mobility a key component in recovery


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation


Sick in bed with pneumonia at Markham Stouffville Hospital, Tom Winters was dependent on a ventilator to help him breathe. With his wife at home suffering from Alzheimer’s, the 72-year-old couldn’t find much hope in the situation. In fact, he admits now, in his darkest moments, he even considered pulling his own plug.


Tom Winters

Sevi Cesta and Jennifer Wirch

But he persevered. Something gave him the strength to get through those moments – or, more accurately, some people. His nurses. “They said, ‘No, we’ll fight together,’” says Winters. “They fought as hard as I did. I can’t describe how good they were to me.” Like many patients in his situation in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the first step on the road back to good health is attaining mobility. Since Winters couldn’t get up and walk, his team, consisting of nurses and allied health professionals, such as the physiotherapist, began his exercise regime gradually with hand, arm and leg exercises in

bed. Once he mastered rolling over and was able to get to his feet, his workouts graduated to small steps and then finally walking around the unit. “They kicked my ass,” says Winters. “They coached me, and encouraged everything I did. They made sure that I, at least, tried.” He recalls one unforgettable moment, in particular. Just one day before he left the ICU for continued care in the Rehabilitation Unit, Winters walked the entire length of the ICU. “It made me feel fantastic,” he recalls. “I felt like I won the marathon.” Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.




Not long ago, patients who required the aid of a ventilator were bedbound and/or put in a medically induced coma, leaving them with potentially debilitating consequences. “They would lose muscle mass to varying degrees,” says Dr. Anand Doobay, Lead Intensive Care Physician at MSH. “In extreme cases, some could never get off the ventilator or move their limbs. They would be committed to long-term care for the rest of their life.” Today, doctors know that early mobility is an integral aspect to recovery for patients on a ventilator. More and more, medical professionals are finding that getting their patients on the move again – and sooner – is proving to be a significant benefit. In fact, it not only helps strengthen patients’ muscles and prevents muscle loss, but it can also reduce a patient’s hospital stay, which is why the hospital has implemented its own ICU Progressive Mobility Program. “We know that patients who are in the ICU on a ventilator can take up to two years to fully recover and get back to work,” says Sevi Cesta, Patient Care Manager Critical Care Services. “Earlier mobilization has helped reduce that number from anywhere between a year to 18 months. Although this may not reduce ICU length of stay, it does decrease the overall length of stay in the hospital, and patients tend to be more successful when they attend rehab.”


How does being mobile help? Think of working your legs out at the gym. Although your quads may be burning from the motion, you’re actually working more than just your legs – your abs, glutes and back can also come into play. The same goes for


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

respiratory and muscular health. “Patients who get moving have stronger respiratory muscles,” says Dr. Doobay. “It all comes together. When you strengthen your mobility muscles, you also strengthen your respiratory muscles.” What does mobility mean? Depending on how sick a patient is, mobility can take different forms. “For instance, for the sickest patients, we will do what’s called Passive Range of Motion, where we will physically move your arms and legs to ensure that you maintain your muscle tone. We will also keep the head of your bed up so you are in a semi ‘sitting’ position while in bed,” says Cesta. “Once you start getting better, we will get you into a chair at the bedside, we may need to use the ceiling lift first, but as you gain strength, then we’ll get you to stand and pivot into the chair. Once you

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gain enough strength, we will have you standing and marching on the spot, and have you sitting up in the chair. Then, we will have you walking up and down the hallway, with staff moving the equipment with you.” Even the smallest amount of movement can make a big difference in a patient’s recovery because it prevents muscle mass from deteriorating. “Moving patients, even if they’re still connected to the ventilator, helps reduce the loss of muscle mass, which in turn will help in the overall recovery of the patient,” says Cesta. Not only does early mobility get them out of the hospital faster, it’s used to ultimately ensure they have a brighter future. “One of our goals is for the patient to be independent when they leave the hospital,” says Dr. Doobay. “We want them to have a good life.”



JOAN WHITTAKER BELIEVES SAVING ANOTHER PERSON'S LIFE IS THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE. As a dedicated and long-time donor to Markham Stouffville Hospital, Joan Whittaker is passionate about her hospital, and that’s why she is leaving a gift in her will. Not only is she taking advantage of the tax benefits for her legacy giving, Joan is helping to ensure that our hospital is there for her, and her loved ones. You can make a difference like Joan through a gift of life insurance or by leaving a gift in your will. Call Elaine Bernard at 905.472.7373 ext. 6619 or visit

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Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville. 2017-05-18 11:18 AM


Safe at Home Insights and tips from a MSH occupational therapist, Michele Mcdonald, to help reduce your risk of falling at home We all value the warm embrace of home following a hospital visit – and that should include avoiding the risk of falls. Yet, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury among older Canadians. In fact, nearly 30 per cent of seniors experience one or more falls each year, and falls are the cause of 85 per cent of injury-related hospitalizations among seniors. The good news is that falls at home are preventable, and we can all take relatively simple steps to reduce the risk. It all starts with prevention, experts say. And that means staying active.


A personal emergency response system – or at least access to a portable phone – is an asset to those at risk of falling. After any fall, always follow up with your health-care provider, as it is important to identify potential causes for the fall says Mcdonald. “As soon as you have a fall, it can impact your ability to take care of yourself, to live independently, and participate in activities that you enjoy: we’re trying to prevent that as much as possible.”


You want to ensure you have proper railings on staircases, and grab bars in the tub or shower, which should also have nonslip surfaces to prevent falls. And while most of us understand the need for proper footwear, some folks who get discharged from the hospital tend to underuse one tool, in particular: the walking aid. “Some people park it in a room and walk without it,” says Mcdonald “If it’s been prescribed, we encourage you to use your walking aid.”



We need to be aware of our environment. Are the hallways clear of clutter? Are the outdoor pathways clear? Is there proper lighting in the hallways? These may seem like common-sense considerations – but they’re crucial. “It’s about general awareness,” says Mcdonald. “Scan your environment. Try to eliminate tripping hazards such as electrical cords, and area rugs that are not secure.”


Be mindful of the potential effect of medications on your mobility. “How a medication impacts you can change as you get older. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications,” says Mcdonald. “Certain prescriptions that help you to sleep or relax may also increase your risk of falls.”


Watch where you’re going! Check your eyes and eyewear regularly if you have vision problems, missing the step or not seeing obstacles properly can lead to a tumble.

“It is recommended that we all do 150 minutes of exercise/activity a week but this can be broken down into smaller blocks of time. Every step counts,” says Mcdonald. “You want to be involved in exercise to increase your muscle strength, balance, bone health, and to prevent falls. And you can do that in a variety of ways: walking, swimming, gardening, dancing, doing household activities, or in a group exercise class.” Any type of exercise is important, says Mcdonald, who recommends consulting your doctor or health-care provider if you are unsure about the type and amount of physical activity is right for you.

For more resources, visit:


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation





What is shingles and how is it treated?

ANSWER: Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster, is a painful, blistering type of rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. This rash occurs only on one side of the body, and in a narrow band either on the face, chest, torso or legs. People may feel pain or a burning sensation a few days before the rash appears. Antiviral medications, if started within three days of the onset, may help to reduce the duration of the illness. It is recommended that adults over the age of 60 be immunized to prevent this painful condition. Dr. David Austin is an emergency department physician and Chief of Staff at Markham Stouffville Hospital


How do I know if I have kidney stones? If I do, what is the treatment?

ANSWER: The answer to this is sort of like polar opposites – either you won’t know at all, or you will know for sure. Kidney stones first form within the kidney. They are usually not painful and are referred to as ‘nonobstructing stones’. These stones can eventually and unpredictably shift into the ‘ureter’ tube that drains urine from the kidney into the bladder, partially blocking the urine coming down from that particular kidney. The result: severe pain. The treatment of obstructing kidney stones can include observation and prevention, pain control/medications to help pass the stone, blasting the stone from outside with “Shockwave Lithotripsy”, or blasting the stone internally with “Laser Lithotripsy” or “Percutaneous Lithotripsy.” The decision as to which is needed depends on whether the stone is obstructing or non-obstructing, the size of the stone, as well as other patient-related factors. Dr. Adeel Sheikh is a laparoscopic and minimally invasive urologic specialist at Markham Stouffville Hospital




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Today I have a whole new appreciation for life

Jasvinder (Sasha) Sood

MATTERS OF THE HEART Grateful patient is living witness to the importance of deep-dive diagnosis

edical professionals are simply doing their job when they save a life. But try telling that to a patient who’s been saved, someone like Jasvinder (Sasha) Sood, who is forever changed. Sood visited the MSH Emergency Department in February 2012, believing her nagging cough, lethargy and shortness of breath were possibly symptoms of a severe flu. Straight away, doctors determined her condition was more serious, although the cause remained unclear. “They did every test under the sun,” recalls Sood, who was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 24 hours later and intubated. “By then I was coughing up blood, and my friend who came to visit looked terrified and had tears in her eyes.” The ICU team pressed on, undeterred. “Just because something



Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

looks like a certain condition doesn’t mean it’s that,” says cardiologist Dr. Bahareh Motlagh, who treated Sood, whom she now dubs the ‘miracle patient.’ “When someone isn’t getting better, you must ask why,” Dr. Motlagh adds. “Only then can you use tools to guide you a certain way.” Many days passed and multiple tests took place before MSH specialists identified Sasha’s heart as the source of her problems. Specifically: her mitral valve was leaking, impairing the forward flow of blood through her heart. Signs that initially suggested acute influenza led to openheart surgery. Sood was transferred to Newmarket’s Southlake Regional Health Centre for surgery, where on March 27, 2012, doctors repaired her heart valve. “The surgeon, doctors and nurses

are my saviours. And the fact that Markham Stouffville Hospital refused to send me home without trying to find out what was wrong saved my life.” Just like that, Sasha’s world changed forever. Because the valve was successfully repaired, no ongoing blood thinners were needed – particularly good news in light of Sasha’s subsequent pregnancy. (Son Joshua arrived healthy and beautiful at MSH in 2013.) Now Sasha annually donates as much as she can afford to the hospital in gratitude for its efforts. “Today I have a whole new appreciation for life,” says Sasha. “When something like this happens to you, you see the world in a different way. And I really believe the only reason I lived was because of the health care available to me.”


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