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ADAM VUKUSIK

Adam started Tuesday like any other day. After his shower he made his lunch and set off to school. But the day took a turn in the afternoon. A mountain bike ride on a favorite trail left the 11 year-old with life-threatening injuries, making October 4th a date he will never forget. It’s now a day of gratitude. He knows the exceptional care he received at RIH saved his leg and his life. That’s why he’s happy to share his story with you:

I was biking with my dad when a deer ran across the trail in front of me. I braked fast and ended up hitting my stomach on my handle bars really hard. It hurt and I knew something was wrong. Luckily, my dad was with me and we both knew the safest place for me to go, so he took me to RIH.

My leg was numb and the doctors discovered that I had pinned my iliac artery—the main artery between my abdomen and leg—against my spine and it had ripped open. They told me that I needed surgery right away and that’s when I met Dr. Aristotle Azad, the surgeon who operated on me. He explained that he was going to repair the damage and made me feel comfortable going into surgery.

Afterwards, I went to the Intensive Care Unit where the nurses looked after me and Dr. Azad checked on me every day until I was ready to go home. I’m feeling much better now and after a few months, Dr. Azad said it was OK for me to go back to the sports I love like running, swimming and even biking!” 

Adam’s mom, Tamara, believes her son’s trust in the care team at RIH has played a role in his recovery:

“I know that Adam deeply trusts Dr. Azad and I’m certain that confidence has helped him during the healing process. Kamloops is very fortunate to have a hospital like RIH at our doorstep and Adam’s outcome may have been very different without the expertise and facilities that we have here. There was concern that he could possibly lose his leg—or worse—and I’m so thankful to the medical team at RIH who worked so hard to make sure he had the best outcome possible.

We want our kids to live life to their fullest and to experience the opportunities for outdoor adventure that Kamloops has to offer. A healthy dose of freedom is what nurtures capable, confident kids. The hard part is letting go because it's impossible to prepare for a situation like this. I take comfort in knowing that our hospital has the resources to handle so many types of patients and injuries—especially pediatric patients like Adam.”

As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Azad had to make special considerations when operating on Adam who at 11 years of age, still has lots of growing to do:

“Adam’s injury was very rare. We put a patch on the iliac artery and used interrupted stitches to ensure his artery will grow with him. And because he’s still a kid, we will continue to monitor his progress over the coming years.

There are very few hospitals like RIH. As a physician in Kamloops, you need to have a different mind-set than in a big city with many hospitals and resources that you can draw from. The medical team here better be ready because we never know what is going to come through those doors—it’s relentless.”

Because of their size and growth, babies and children require specialized care that is often quite different from adult care. Fortunately, RIH is home to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for babies as young as 30 weeks gestation and a Pediatrics department for children ranging from new babies to teens.

If you are a patient or family member and would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you! You can either fill in the form or contact our office at 250-314-2325.