Looking back, there were signs.
“I’d been feeling tired, really fatigued, and I was having trouble cycling to work,” says Tom Grady, regional distributed learning manager with VCH Employee Engagement.
Then, he came down with a case of strep throat that even penicillin couldn’t clear. One blood test later and Tom was in the VGH Emergency Department. By 1:30 a.m. the next morning, he had answers.
Tom was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
“I was informed that my white cell count was dangerously low,” he recalls, “but I remember feeling a sense of relief. I finally knew what was happening.”
That’s when this VCH employee became a VGH inpatient. And, for the next three hours, Dr. Emily Lai was at his side.
“She stood by my bedside from 1:30 to 4:30 a.m. and outlined for me and my wife Rosalyn the protocols and steps the team would take to treat my disease. She answered our questions in a straightforward and helpful way. It was very powerful and very reassuring.”
The care and compassion shown by all in the ED set the stage for what was to follow. Admitted to the VGH Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit on the morning of September 14, Tom and his family were introduced to a team that’s found a special place in their hearts.
The Leukemia/BMT (LBMT) unit at VGH is unique and serves as BC’s one and only centre for bone marrow transplant. There’s no other team quite like it – in more ways than one.
“The depth of knowledge and experience is immense, and the level of care and attention is outstanding,” says Tom. “Even at shift change, the team picks up where the others left off and it’s as smooth as can be.”
Describing the team as “invariably pleasant and knowledgeable,” Tom was impressed by the “consistent professionalism and friendliness shown to me and demonstrated in the way staff help each other.”
On the eve of his discharge to the LBMT outpatient unit, Tom is full of praise for his care team, including Drs. Maryse Power and Mahmoud Elsawy.
“I want to thank everyone for attending to me so well and for making my time in hospital so manageable and inspiring,” he says with a broad smile.
“As an employee, I wanted to be impressed — and I was. I wanted to feel proud — and I do. And I want to get better, and everyone is working on all fronts to make that happen.”
The Leukemia/BMT Program at VGH was recently accredited by FACT, the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. Achieving FACT accreditation demonstrates that the program exceeds global standards for quality patient care in cellular therapies, a fact that doesn’t come as a surprise to Tom.
Congratulations to all staff and physicians of the inpatient and outpatient services that make up the Leukemia/BMT Program at VGH. Thank you for all you do to provide the best care.