LGH emergency department staff (l-r) Amy Randell, Susanne Scott and Caroline Martini flank Patrick Bruskiewich, who donated $700 worth of prizes he’d won in a Valentine’s Day contest to ED staff.

Never underestimate the power of a smile

A few months ago North Shore resident Patrick Bruskiewich found himself in the Emergency Department at Lions Gate Hospital with a racing heartbeat. He feared the Grim Reaper was near at hand.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it, but then Caroline turned around and gave me a smile and I thought, ‘I’m not going to kick the bucket today after all,’” recalls Patrick, a scientist and author of a number of books on math, physics and art.

Never underestimate the power of a smile.

The Caroline he’s referring to is Caroline Martini, an LGH RN who took care of Patrick while he remained in the ED for a few hours of observation. While lying there, he also composed a short poem in tribute to Caroline (see below), which he plans to inscribe in his next book on the Mona Lisa, whose mysterious smile has beguiled art lovers for centuries.

Valentine’s Day prize winner pays it forward

Caroline’s smile made such an impact on Patrick that when he won a recent Valentine’s Day story writing contest from the Whistler Pique magazine, he told the publication to donate the $700 worth of prizes to staff in the emergency department. (The package included gift certificates for arestaurant, couples massage sleigh ride etc). Although names were drawn out of a hat for the prizes, Patrick insisted Caroline get the first pick.

“I didn’t have a Valentine to give the prize to so I suggested to the Pique they redirect it to the Emergency Department nurses at Lions Gate Hospital,” said Patrick, who’s also working on a doctoral in nuclear astrophysics at UBC. “Whenever I have been to the emergency department in recent years your staff have been very kind and professional to me.”

Patrick popped by the hospital for a quick photo earlier today and to say thanks again to the ED staff and have a short chat with Caroline before heading out to UBC to judge the annual Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair.

Caroline was delighted to meet Patrick again and see that he was doing fine.

“It is always very nice to hear back from patients,” she said. “It’s also especially nice to see that they are doing well.”

While looking at the archival photos in the seating area just inside the 13th street entrance of the hospital, Patrick recalls working on a heritage campaign years ago to save the second North Vancouver hospital that sat a few blocks away from the current campus. It was demolished in 1983. He also noted that he was part of the engineering team that built some of the operating rooms about 25 years ago.

It’s clear the hospital retains a special place in Patrick’s life (and heart).

“Every so often when I have to come to the hospital, I know am in good hands.”

Poem for a nurse

There was a Nice Nurse Named Caroline 

There is a nice nurse

named Caroline

Who knows how to make

someone feel fine.

All she has to do is to smile

and in a short while

all worry is gone from their mind.

 

3 comments

  1. Deesh says:

    It is so nice to hear these stories and see the impact simple things have on our patients. Great job Caroline and to the team at LGH ED!

  2. denise says:

    what a wonderful story, No surprise there, Caroline is an amazing nurse and person, glad she got recognized. Great job!!

  3. Nadine says:

    I am a former laboratory employee (23 years) of LGH and happen to be Patrick’s sister. Thank you to everyone, especially Caroline, for taking great care of him. Compassion, empathy and understanding towards patients is as important as the medicine to help in the recovery. Seeing first hand how busy the hospitals are everyday (I now work for Interior Health), we all try to do our best to deliver quality health care. I am grateful for all the wonderful health care workers who continue to provide compassion, empathy, understanding and pride in their work !

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