Betty came into Langley Memorial Hospital with a lump on her neck that was linked back to a terminal cancer that ultimately consuming her body and her life.
But Dr. Mitra Maharaj chose to share this Langley woman’s story, not because of its heartbreaking outcome, but because of all the positives that she and her “devoted” husband found during her journey of health care at LMH.
Maharaj, the site medical director, shared the story of how she went from an inconclusive needle biopsy to the day surgery removal of the lump that found the origin in colon cancer cells.
Then, a CAT scan found the disease had spread to her pancreas, which meant further surgery.
“Over the subsequent weeks, the nurses got to know Betty and her husband well,” Maharaj said. And he and other staff learned of the couple’s disheartening experiences when transferred to another Lower Mainland hospital for the surgery – which was cancelled and rescheduled multiple times as more seriously ill patient care took precedence.
The second surgery complete, Betty was returned to LMH to convalesce, Maharaj told the crowd of 350-plus gala guests.
She received help from physio and occupational therapists to enable her to return home. But sadly, her return home was short-lived as she “struggled to regain her health” and failed.
Despite chemotherapy, she would not recover, and it would become clear the disease was taking its toll on her system.
After her passing in hospice, Maharaj kept in touch with Betty’s husband – who, himself, was a patient.
In time, he would reflect more on their experiences and how “Betty had felt supported and care for as a person throughout the various stages of her care in Langley, rather than being treated as an impersonal diagnosis – as had been her experience when she left our community.”
The couple was grateful for what Betty’s husband called the “compassion and expertise” of the nurses, doctors, and allied health care professionals at Langley.
“They were grateful for… how everyone did everything they could to help Betty,” her husband repeatedly expressed to Maharaj.
Ahead of Saturday’s gala, the doctor reflected further on Betty’s journey, and said her story illustrates the fundamental importance of relationships between this community hospital and the patients it serves.
He was amazed at how many people interacted with and cared for Betty, how many pieces of specialized equipment were critical to every stage of her care. And even though she eventually passed away, he said he was proud of the quality of care she received: “The best possible care right here in her community.”
That in essence, he said, is what makes Langley hospital “great.”
“The people who work in our hospital embody compassion and commitment to the best possible care. They treat every patient who walks through our doors like a member of their own family.”
The LMH team “walks with every patient through every step of their health care journey, whether it’s an outpatient clinic or a diagnostic procedure using advanced technology, or for a surgery focused on returning that patient to their health and their home as quickly as possible, Langley Memorial Hospital is there with you every step of the way.”