‘If it wasn’t for this hospital, we wouldn’t have had the outcome we did’ Jennifer and Jean-Philippe Cormier, of Grand-Digue, with their children Alexi, 4, and Malika, almost one, at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital. Alexi was born at 24 weeks, and the family is recognizing the care of his health care team this World Prematurity Day.
As four-year-old Alexi Cormier pushes his baby sister’s stroller around Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital (TMH), barely tall enough to reach the handles, one thing is clear: he’s got this. Another thing is too: he’s completely happy in his surroundings. “He’s always been so comfortable coming into this hospital,” his mom, Jennifer said. “There’s never a tantrum. He’s always happy to come see everybody that’s cared for him.” “It’s funny,” his dad, Jean-Philippe said, “because they’re almost like friends.” Alexi has always been stubborn, says his parents, and this personality trait is one of the things his parents’ credit with helping him survive and grow since being born at 24 weeks – 16 weeks premature. But the main thing, they say, is the care he received during his 99 days in hospital and the four years of care since then. Surprise and distress In early fall 2014, Jennifer and Jean-Philippe, of Grand-Digue were expecting their first child. “Everything was going fabulously, everything was going great,” she said. “I had no sickness. Everything was right, what it was supposed to be.” In an instant, however, everything was not right. Jennifer was working in Riverview and thought her water broke. On the advice of a physician, she drove herself to TMH, and took the elevator to the Labour and Birth unit on the second floor. There, she learned her water had broke. “I was only six months pregnant. I thought it wasn’t possible,” she recalls. At this time, she was so in shock that she was only concerned about getting back to work; her health care providers soon told her that was not going to happen. She called her husband, and they were briefed on possible complications, no matter if it was days or months before she had her baby. “We knew there was a lot of risk involved,” Jean-Philippe said. “In a way, that was good for us because it painted the picture.” Four days later, Jennifer went into labour and their baby’s heart rate was dropping; Jennifer needed an emergency C-section. On Oct.24, Alexi was born, weighing one pound and five ounces. He was in “distress,” and the first 24 hours in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) were critical; he needed an intubation tube to help him breathe. He was stabilized, but on a ventilator for the next eight weeks. “It was a long journey,” his dad said. “Those eight weeks were tough.” “Everything that could have went wrong, went wrong,” his mom said. “But he overcame everything, really.” The family spent a couple weeks at TMH
importance of hand hygiene and made sure they knew their son’s file so they didn’t have to repeat information to each of his health care providers over and over again. “For me, honestly, if I didn’t have their support I probably would have gone crazy. It’s not a normal situation,” said Jennifer. It was these people that instilled in their son a fighting spirit. “Starting at birth, he was really
Dear Staff and Physicians,
A welcome note from the editor
It’s hard to believe 2018 is almost over!
Once again Horizon has a lot to be proud of this year. Accreditation is a huge accomplishment, and one that I hope you took the time to pat yourself on the back to congratulate yourself for! Accreditation signals to our health care peers, our
Welcome to the 14th edition of the Horizon Star! I’m a big fan of podcasts, and I recently listened to one that focused on the “work” behind the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Royal Tour of Australia and other Commonwealth countries. Even though I don’t plan on organizing such a large-scale event any time soon, hearing about all the steps and setbacks, checklists and chores that go into the tour made me think about the all work we put in every day before a new clinic is unveiled, a research paper is published or an innovative surgery is performed. Sometimes this work is gritty (and certainly not always pretty), and oftentimes this work doesn’t pan out like we thought (or want) it to. I’m sure you’ve had a couple of projects like this: You put your heart and soul (not to mention major investments of time and energy and the related stress) into projects, only to have them go off track by some unsuspecting barrier. These things used to be a major source of frustration for me – and they still are. But I have been trying to concentrate on celebrating small victories and promoting quick wins during the “work” process, which has given me a new perspective on working towards a goal. As you read stories in this issue I hope you think about all the work behind them. There’s a story about a long-term research project that’s changing the face of lung cancer diagnosis in New Brunswick (page 14), and there are snippets from your colleagues about their feelings of pride around reaching their educational goals on graduation day (page 17). There’s an incredible story on how Horizon staff helped a little boy who was born prematurely (page 5), and one physician’s work to advocate for mental health research, treatment, and awareness within New Brunswick (page 10). As always, it’s an honour to share your stories, and I hope you’ll continue to reach me at HorizonStar@HorizonNB.ca with new ideas.
patients/clients and their families that they can expect to receive quality care across all of our Horizon sites. Of course our other big achievement is Horizon’s 10 year anniversary. Many of you said it seems like just yesterday you were brought together as one, but in actuality you have been working together for a full decade. One of the most meaningful memories I have from our 10 year celebration was when an employee said it was the first time they truly felt they were part of One Horizon. I hope the sentiment of being One Horizon has clicked for most of you by now, because that’s what we are: many important parts working together to deliver quality care for New Brunswickers.
stubborn,” Jennifer said. “He was a fighter,” Jean-Philippe said. Now, he’s as active as any four-year-old, and enjoys pulling and pushing anything with wheels and loves music very much. World Prematurity Day The Cormiers, whose 11-month-old girl, Malika was born at full term, said having a premature baby, especially after a healthy pregnancy, changed their lives. “I used to be the type to try and plan everything as far as career, family, but it made me realize you can plan everything you want, but everything can change like this (snaps fingers),” Jean-Philippe said. They’re hesitant to give advice to other parents, as every child is different. They recognize while they had a really good outcome, it’s not always like that. “They call it a roller coaster ride. It’s probably the worst roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on. But you just have to hang on, one day at a time, and try to support each other as a couple, too,” he said. “There were some days she was stronger than me and she would pull me back up, and it was some days it was the opposite.” World Prematurity Day is Nov. 17, and the Cormiers’ story of strength and support is common in NNICUs around the world as one in 10 babies is born prematurely. “As a NNICU nurse, it is a privilege to care for and watch these tiny fighters and their families grow,” said Stephanie Cormier, Clinical Lead Nurse, NNICU, TMH. “Our team is passionate about delivering the best care through this difficult journey. We partner with our parents through many ups and downs of the NNICU stay. Parents open their hearts and trust us to provide optimal care. They become part of our family and we become part of theirs.” Horizon is proud of the care its neonatal units and health care teams across the organization provide to premature babies and their families. From Alexi, in his first language: Merci.
before being transferred to the IWK Health Centre. They said they received amazing care at the Halifax hospital, especially when their son was in critical condition, but they were grateful to be returning to a place that “felt like home” as soon as he was cleared. “We couldn’t wait to get back here,” Jean- Philippe said. From the way his NNICU team cared for his fragile skin to the ‘Welcome Back’ sign on the door when they returned from Halifax, it was the little things, Jean-Philippe said, that made all the difference. When they left the hospital, 99 days later, Alexi was five pounds and six ounces. An amazing health care team There are many people who helped care for Alexi, and their family, along the way, and the Cormiers were amazed by the connection and seamless continuum of care between them all. At the beginning of her pregnancy, Jennifer was followed by obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) Dr. Karen Desrosiers, then by OBGYN Dr. Lise Gagnon when Dr. Desrosiers was on vacation. Dr. Ken Gillespie was the OBGYN on call when she went into labour and performed her emergency C-section. When Alexi was born, Dr. Mahamadou Chaibou was on call and cared for him during the first few hours. While in the NNICU, Alexi was cared for by neonatologists Dr. Rody Canning and Dr. Marc Blayney. There were the nurses who became friends (and Alexi’s honorary “tantes” (aunts)), the NNICU ward clerk and EVS workers who always checked in with a friendly hello and kept the unit clean and safe. There were the social workers and psychologists who provided guidance and mental health support, and the speech and hearing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy staff that’ve provided care since Alexi left the hospital. It was all these people who helped Alexi – and his parents – overcome the unknown. It was these people who taught them about the
Karen McGrath, President and CEO
As I travel across Horizon (as you read this I will be finishing up my fourth CEO tour),
I have met so many incredible leaders in our organization. There is a wealth of leadership talent within Horizon, which is why I am confident the future of health care delivery for New Brunswickers is bright. As with any CEO tour I enjoy the opportunity to find out what’s on your mind. I hope you like these sessions as much as I do. I enjoyed sharing the research with you about what members of the public believe is a Horizon responsibility, and what isn’t. I also hope that I clarified any uncertainties that you may have had. At the end of the day, we’re all part of a big system that needs to work together to support New Brunswickers live healthy lives. With the holidays nearly upon us, I hope you all take the time to reflect on the important year we had. Now more than ever we are One Horizon with 10 years of working together in our review mirror and a clear Horizon in the future. Sure we have our challenges, but I know we can work together to find solutions.
As always I hope you take the time to enjoy the upcoming holiday season and spend it with friends and family.
Happy reading, GinaBeth Roberts
Karen McGrath President and CEO
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