Adam Bukusik


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.

Her daughter, Leah, a nurse in Vancouver, rushed to RIH and was shocked at the state of her mother. “From my medical experience and knowledge, I did not expect my mom to live. It was a terrible day for the entire family”, she said. But against the odds and thanks in large part to the excellent care provided by the team on the ward in 6N, Jean did survive. She gradually recovered enough to move to Ponderosa for rehabilitation, and afterwards to Brio in Berwick.

Today, she has almost full mobility back and lives in her own apartment in Berwick. She has lost some of her independence as she is no longer able to drive, but she is very grateful, not only to be alive, but also to have recovered to an extent that most would not have dreamed possible. “I have the medical care at RIH to thank for the fact that today, although I live with chronic pain, I am able to live a normal life and most importantly, spend time with family and friends”, she commented.

Jean is especially thankful to nurse Erin Mitchell and neurosurgeon Dr. Ferdinand Matanaj and explains, “RIH is an important part of the community and as a patient here, I was very grateful for the compassion that the entire medical team showed. In particular, I remember Erin coming to sit and talk with me at a time when I really needed encouragement as the road to recovery at that time seemed daunting, and Dr. Matanaj was always attentive and continued to follow my progress.” In recognition of the vital role that RIH played in saving her life, Jean has made donations to the RIH Foundation in the years since her accident.

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.