On September 19th, 2016, Jean Chacko’s life changed forever. She was visiting her son in Kamloops and was driving to visit friends in Sahali when she was involved in a head-on collision in a busy intersection. With life-threatening injuries, the 83-year old was transported to Royal Inland Hospital with crushing injuries to her chest and a fractured neck.
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.