Our Stories

Committed to Exceptional Patient Experiences

At Lakeridge Health we are committed to providing our patients with safe, high quality care that they can trust during some of the most important moments in their lives. Lakeridge Health also partners with Metroland newspapers to provide Durham residents with access to important health information. The columns are published monthly in their newspapers and online at www.durhamregion.com. Read more about the incredible stories of individuals in our community and columns written by Lakeridge Health experts.

Colouring Outside the Lines 


Durham resident Tracy Dixon learned she had colon cancer while sitting
in the emergency room at the Oshawa Hospital.

She had come to the hospital with intense stomach pain that had been bothering her intermittently for several months.

The weeks that followed were a blur of appointments and tests across Lakeridge Health. At Port Perry Hospital, Tracy received laparoscopic surgery to remove a tumour and 17 lymph nodes.

“Dr. Wang at Port Perry Hospital was a laparoscopic genius,” says Tracy.

“He helped calm me prior to my surgery and later removed the entire mass.”

Continue to full story.

Partnership Between Lakeridge and SickKids Ensures Best Care for Durham Kids


Q&A with Dr. Joan Abohweyere, Lakeridge Health Pediatrician

When your child is sick, nothing matters more than getting them the best available treatment and care. An innovative partnership between Lakeridge Health and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is ensuring kids in Durham Region receive the latest standard of medication for common childhood illnesses.  We spoke with Dr. Joan Abohweyere, paediatrician at Lakeridge Health about how the SickKids Formulary will benefit infants and children across Durham Region.  

Q: How does the partnership with SickKids benefit children and families in Durham Region?

Last fall, Lakeridge Health adopted The SickKids Formulary, a resource that assists pharmacists, physicians and other health professionals to deliver the latest standard in paediatric medication.  By providing specific medication dosing information and guidelines for common childhood illnesses, this tool is helping to ensure children in Durham Region receive the safest and most advanced medications in their own communities.

Q: How many Lakeridge Health hospitals are using the SickKids Formulary?

The SickKids Formulary is offered at all Lakeridge Health locations. Parents can be assured that their child’s medication is being prescribed and administered at a consistently high standard, whether a child is treated in the emergency department, has surgery or is admitted to a Lakeridge Health hospital.

Q: What are the most common illnesses supported by this program?

The SickKids Formulary covers medication for a range of common illnesses and conditions including asthma, pneumonia, seizures and complications related to Sickle Cell Anemia. Health professionals at Lakeridge Health prescribe and administer the same medications that these patients would receive at SickKids.  Drug therapy is continually changing making it challenging to stay current.  The medication list and information are regularly updated by pharmacy and medical experts at SickKids, which enables health professionals to offer the most up-to-date medication to our youngest patients.


Art Brings Comfort to People with Cancer in Durham Region


Coming to a hospital for cancer treatment and care can be a stressful experience for people living with cancer.

Innovative partnerships between the ArtWorks for Cancer Foundation (AWFC), O’Neill Collegiate & Vocational Institute (O'Neill C.V.I.) and R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre (DRCC) at Lakeridge Health are using the power of visual art to bring comfort to cancer patients and their families.

According to AWFC, a non-profit group with a mission to bring works of art to cancer treatment centres across Ontario, studies have shown that, for many patients, exposure to visual arts not only bolsters spirits and calm anxieties, it can also improve health outcomes. 

“The art is adding a sense of warmth to the cancer centre,” explained Debbie Devitt, Patient Experience Lead in the DRCC. “It brings smiles to patients’ faces. And it’s uplifting for staff to see the art on display every day when they come to work.”

Through the AWFC program, approximately 82 pieces of art now hang throughout the cancer centre.

Continue to full story.

Finding The Best Care In The Right Place This Holiday Season


Cold and flu season is here. That means a large number of people will visit the emergency department seeking relief from influenza or "the flu" that hits around this time of year. Over the winter months, people are in close quarters with others and typically spend more time indoors, which puts everyone at greater risk of exposure to the flu.

 Emergency Department Leadership

As medical director, emergency medicine and critical care, and clinical director, emergency services at Lakeridge Health, we see, first-hand, the spike in flu-related emergency room visits. This year’s flu has arrived and, like most Ontario hospitals, we expect the number of confirmed cases of this common virus to keep rising over the next few months. Traditionally, the flu season begins in mid-November and peaks in early to mid-January.

This time of year, Lakeridge Health emergency departments are much busier than usual and we want to help people access the care that they need as close to home as possible, and, wherever possible, avoid a trip to the emergency department.

Continue to full story.

Carriage House Helps People Regain Health and Quality of Life

By the time 66-year-old Rose McMullen was admitted to Oshawa Hospital, she was so sick with severe pneumonia that she had lost nearly 40 pounds from her already slight 100-pound frame. Rose, who lives with muscular dystrophy and arthritis, had been mostly housebound for years and did not realize how ill she was.

After two weeks of medical treatment, Rose’s health improved to the point where she no longer needed 24-7 acute hospital care. However, after her in-patient stay, the thought of going home made her anxious.

Rose and health care team

While acute care hospitals are designed for people with urgent health concerns, illness or conditions and specialized medical needs, for people like Rose who no longer need immediate medical services, there are better options in the community.

Given her already complex health condition, Rose was able to be part of a new program she credits with helping her build the physical, social and emotional strength to live on her own again.

Continue to full story.

Welcoming New Life at Port Perry Hospital


Patient StoriesAt Lakeridge Health we are committed to providing our patients with high quality care that they can trust during some of the most important moments in their lives – and the first moments of their baby’s life.

Take Rebecca Bierworth, a Registered Nurse at the New Life Centre at the Port Perry Hospital, who chose to deliver her daughter Maci on-site surrounded by her colleagues.

“A lot of people thought it was odd, me deciding to have a baby with all of the people I work with in the room –but I know from being around them every day that they were the best people for the job.”

Rebecca was used to providing expectant and new mothers with advice for their babies, but now that she’s back to work after sharing that experience she feels like she can better relate to her patients. “Now I know exactly the intensity of what the parents are experiencing on the other side – it really gave me a new perspective on childbirth.”

After leaving the hospital, Rebecca returned to the New Life Centre to get some follow-up breastfeeding consultation from the lactation specialist. Despite training many new moms, she said it was comforting to have the resources and re-assurance of a team of health care professionals.

The New Life Centre in Port Perry Hospital specializes in providing care for low-risk healthy pregnancies, from labour and deliveries, right through to their return home and will be re-opened when the hospital becomes operational the week of September 3 – 8. In the interim, mothers looking for breastfeeding advice can visit the Breastfeeding Clinic at the Medical Associates of Port Perry located at 462 Paxton Street, directly across the street from the Port Perry Hospital.

 Committed to Exceptional Patient Experiences

Patient StoriesAt Lakeridge Health, we recognize that time spent in health care facilities can be unexpected, and challenging, and we are constantly working to ensure better health outcomes in our communities and the Durham Region at large.

Take Kathy Olden, a Whitby Shores resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer late last summer after bumping into her stair railing. “Initially, I didn’t think anything of it but after a few days I was still in pain so I went to a clinic to have it looked at – that was when the nurse found a lump.”

Kathy was sent for a mammogram that afternoon and the results indicated a presence of cancer in her breast.  She was quickly connected with a surgeon to have her breast removed and shortly thereafter began receiving chemotherapy four times a week at the Durham Regional Cancer Center.

“It’s a very manageable commute for me to the centre for my treatment and all of the clinical staff – as well as the Auxiliary volunteers - have been extremely informative, attentive and positive throughout my care.”

Kathy’s family and friends have been another great support system throughout this experience. Last fall, several family and friends participated in a local cancer fundraising run in her honour.

“It’s been great to have my husband, children and grandchildren so involved in my recovery,” she said. “I haven’t let this define me; I have a positive health care outlook and I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Kathy will be finished with her treatment in late March and is looking forward to hosting some family dinners and celebrating with a nice glass of wine!

Seeing the Value in the Patient Experience


IreneAt Lakeridge Health, we are constantly working to ensure that people accessing our services have the best possible patient experience – and we believe that effective communication and expectation setting is a large part of that experience.

After a consultation with her eye doctor last summer revealed she had cataracts, Arlene Lowe was connected with Dr. Manjula Misra at Lakeridge Health’s Bowmanville Hospital to discuss the procedure.

“During my pre-consultation Dr. Misra explained everything to me in great detail, she was patient and didn’t dismiss any of my questions.”

Arlene, a Northumberland County resident was happy to travel an hour to the Bowmanville Hospital, located near her daughter Kimberly’s house, to have her cataracts removed.

“I arrived at the hospital at quarter to seven in the morning. I was feeling a little nervous about my procedure but the technicians and nurses were extremely understanding and immediately put me at ease,” she said. “They knew I was a diabetic so they also made sure to check my blood sugar levels. Then I climbed on a cot, was administered some anesthetic and next thing I know we were driving home just over an hour later!”

The Eye Care Centre at the Bowmanville Hospital is a regional centre of excellence bringing together a highly specialized health care team to help people regain clearer vision.

Arlene says her care team made her feel at ease and informed for the duration of her care. She has since made a full recovery. “I can even drive at night now, which is a nice treat after 15 years of wearing glasses 24/7!”

Committed to Exceptional Patient Experiences

Patient StoriesAt Lakeridge Health, we recognize that much of the time spent in health care facilities can be challenging and that is why we do our best to create a positive patient experience. 

Take Tom Geary, an Ajax-Pickering resident who recently received hip replacement surgery. “I’ve only received treatment in a hospital once before this operation, which was when I was four years old, but that was 70 years ago so I can’t say I knew what to expect going in for this surgery.” 

Tom was admitted midday on February 6, 2018, and was taken from registration promptly through to his procedure. 

Tom spent the next 48 hours in recovery and was even the subject of a ‘teach-in’ with nursing students from the local college. “All six women gathered around my bed attentively to watch my dressing being changed, while the lead teaching nurse walked them through each step of the process. It was an interesting experience to see these future health care professionals being educated.”

Tom appreciated having clinical staff by his side throughout his health care experience. “My care during recovery was exceptional and I was impressed by the dedication of my nurses – Caryn and Chantelle. Even in the middle of the night, they were there to check my vitals and make sure nothing went wrong.” For now, Tom is focused on making a full recovery by taking some time to catch up on his reading and starting his physiotherapy rehabilitation.

Life After Breast Cancer


Life after breast cancerAt Lakeridge Health, we recognize that much of the time spent in health care facilities can be challenging, which is why we do our best to create a positive patient experience.

In November 2016, just after her 80th birthday, Pickering resident, Joyce Perrin, was diagnosed with breast cancer and started treatment. Joyce said, “It definitely wasn’t the type of birthday gift I had been hoping for.”

Joyce, who had a long and distinguished career in the health care industry, persevered through treatment and took cancer on directly! She credits a large part of her recovery to the continuity and quality of care she received during her treatment across the Lakeridge Health system.

“My surgeon talked with the oncologist before the surgery to ensure that everyone was on the same page,” says Joyce. “The integrated approach between my care team at Ajax Pickering Hospital, who performed the surgery, and my care team at the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, where I received treatment, was seamless. The high degree of respect between nurses and doctors, the exceptional access to information and the positive and empathetic nature of clinicians, staff and volunteers have made all the difference.”

Joyce also attributes much of her recovery success to the support of the staff who helped create a positive experience and community services, like the Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre. “Hearth Place is an excellent community program, they run several integrated education sessions on site with staff from the cancer centre and provide the ongoing emotional support required after treatment.”

Joyce is now in recovery and moving toward living life to the fullest, She has even taken on a leadership role as an Ambassador for After Breast Cancer, another community organization that played a role in her recovery, and was recently featured as one of the foundation’s charity calendar girls!

 Committed to Exceptional Patient Experiences

Committed to Exceptional Patient Experiences At Lakeridge Health, we recognize that time spent in health care facilities can be unexpected, and challenging, and we are constantly working to ensure better health outcomes in our communities, and the Durham Region at large.

Take Andrea Traynor,,a Bowmanville resident who had an unfortunate run in with a zipline in Mont Tremblant last summer. Andrea returned home to Lakeridge Health’s Bowmanville Hospital where they confirmed she had a fracture, but that was only the beginning.

Three weeks after her ankle fracture, Andrea was beginning to have severe back pain. She returned to the Bowmanville Hospital Emergency Department, explained her symptoms to the triage nurse, and mentioned she broke her ankle a few weeks before.

"In that moment, the triage nurse dropped her post, and wheeled me in," says Andrea, "She told me, ‘I think you have a blood clot in your lung’."

With time working against Andrea, the doctor confirmed the triage nurse’s assessment – she had a blood clot, caused by her ankle fracture. She was quickly admitted to Bowmanville Hospital and administered blood thinners immediately.

"The doctor told me it was a pulmonary embolism, which is something you definitely don’t want to Google," says Andrea, "It was at that moment I realized the gravity of the situation."

Andrea says her care team made what was the most terrifying experience of her life, manageable. She has since made a full recovery.

"In a small town, you may wonder what the care will be like, but the Bowmanville hospital provided top notch care and service," says Andrea, "I truly believe the team that day saved my life." 

Paul Puky’s Dialysis Journey 


Paul Puky's Dialysis JourneyAt Lakeridge Health, we recognize that much of the time spent in health care facilities can be challenging and that’s why we do our best to create a positive patient experience. For many of our patients, like Paul Puky, accessing and receiving health care is a consistent part of their daily schedule so it’s important that we get it right!

Paul is an adventuresome 92-year-old dialysis patient (some of his hobbies include ice skating and stamp collecting!) who was diagnosed 20 years ago by Dr. George Buldo, a nephrologist at the Whitby Hospital. Since his initial diagnosis, Paul has been undergoing dialysis treatment for several hours a day three times a week. His nurse Joy, who has been treating Paul for the past 15 years, notes enthusiastically, “Paul is extremely well disciplined and regimented, he even asks if there’s room for improvement on his blood work! All of his support team think he’s an exemplary patient!”

Paul and his doctors both had a lot invested in their patient relationship, and when moved Paul moved out of the Whitby community, his treatment location shifted to his new hometown of Peterborough, but with the continued support of his Whitby doctors. Lakeridge Health’s regional health care model supported the patient’s preferences while ensuring continuity of care. Even now, 20 years later, Paul remembers his first visit and diagnosis!

One Step at a Time

One Step at a TimeChronic pain, reduced mobility and the reliance on crutches and a walker led to a full knee replacement for Susan MacArthur. She was supposed to be discharged three days after her surgery at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa but after suffering complications, her stay was extended.

"The nursing staff told me I would be starting rehab. I said 'what's rehab?' I had never been to rehab in my life," said Susan.

For nearly six weeks, the Whitby resident regularly worked on strengthening her leg and upper body while temporarily using a wheelchair. Her training was slow and steady- Physiotherapist, Lisa Henry and Occupational Therapist, Eunice Yoshiki helped improve Susan's strength and flexibility, along with her mood and confidence.

"They were amazing, helping me deal with any anxiety I had throughout this process. They praised me for every milestone I hit, big or small," adds Susan.

During her time in the rehabilitation unit in Oshawa, Susan had the chance to speak with others who were experiencing similar challenges and felt a sense of family among other patients and staff. Their positivity and determination gave her an extra push to work even harder to re-learn how to stand and walk. She's now looking forward to running errands and walking her dog on her own.

"The care was amazing. If I ever need to return for treatment, I'd come back to rehab in a minute!" 

Vivian Arana's Story

Vivian Arana's StoryVivian Arana learned early that her pregnancy was going to be challenging.

"I was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis, preeclampsia and was borderline eclamptic," says Vivian.

She was admitted to Mount Sinai toward the end of her pregnancy and required an emergency C-section giving birth to her daughter Emma at just 30 weeks. Vivian was discharged from Mount Sinai shortly after, but Emma still required care in their Neonatal Intensive Care unit (NICU).

"It was important for me to be there for Emma, but I didn't live close to Mount Sinai," says Vivian. "I was still recovering myself from having a C-section and wasn't feeling 100% yet. Relying on other people to take me from Ajax to Toronto was an absolute nightmare." 

After looking into preemie care options close to home, Vivian advocated to have Emma transferred to Lakeridge Health's Ajax-Pickering Hospital as soon as it was safe to do so. 

Emma was in the NICU at Ajax-Pickering Hospital for nearly a month as the hospital team there worked to get her to a healthy body weight. It meant Vivian could stay overnight at the hospital as often as she liked and her 11-year-old daughter Bella could visit too. 

"Watching her baby sister in the hospital was especially hard for Bella, but the nurses cared for her too," remembers Vivian. "One nurse even gave Bella a special journal to help her cope with her feelings." 

Emma was recently discharged from Ajax-Pickering hospital and has just passed her original due date. "She's still tiny, but she is growing well," says Vivian. 

Alan Ely's Story

Alan Ely's StoryTwice a week, Alan Ely and his wife Marsha depart from their home in Beaverton for Oshawa where Alan spends the better part of his afternoon in physiotherapy after having knee replacement surgery six weeks ago.

"We pack a lunch and we make a kind of picnic out of it. It's become a nice time for us together," says Alan.

With the temporary closure of Port Perry Hospital, Alan's physiotherapy now takes place at Lakeridge Health's Ambulatory Rehabilitation Centre at 58 Rossland Road. It's added another 30 minutes to his commute but Alan says he doesn't mind at all because he still gets to see Danielle Perrault, the same physiotherapist he has been working closely with in Port Perry.

"Being able to still see Danielle is critical for me," he explains. "Danielle understands what I'm going through and she's someone whom I trust to tell me what I need to do to get better."

In fact, it was Danielle who called him the morning after the rooftop fire at Port Perry Hospital to reassure him his physiotherapy could continue uninterrupted at another Lakeridge Health location. Danielle says, like Alan, the majority of her patients have chosen to resume their physiotherapy in Oshawa even with the extra travel.

"We have a good rapport with our patients," she adds. "We get a lot of returning people and many of them come from the more rural areas like Beaverton, Cannington and Sunderland. Patients are often referred to us following post-surgery to continue therapy, critical to ensuring a successful recovery."

One of two physiotherapists at Port Perry Hospital, Danielle has worked at every Lakeridge Health location except Rossland Road, until now. Being able to bring her Port Perry patients with her to Oshawa has helped Danielle adapt to different surroundings too.

"I don't feel like I'm so displaced," she adds. "I'm able to tell my patients, 'This is even new for me too.'"

Help For Hunter

Help for HunterA persistent cough, vomiting and ongoing respiratory issues lingered for weeks for six month-old Hunter. After two different hospital visits and little improvement, Hunter's mother, Kora Kozai decided to drive from their Scarborough home to the Emergency Department at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

"The doctor ordered blood work and a chest X-ray and the results were given to us almost immediately," said Kozai. "It was a seamless, easy procedure. My son was diagnosed with pneumonia, given a prescription for antibiotics and a follow-up appointment with a paediatrician in Oshawa the next day."

The stay-at-home mom of two young boys says she made the decision to make the 45-minute late-night drive to the Oshawa Hospital after hearing positive reviews about its Emergency Department and in particular, the Paediatric Acute Referral Clinic, which gives families quick access to a paediatrician.

"I would choose Lakeridge Health in Oshawa in a heartbeat, every time because of the nurses and doctors who work there. Even at three in the morning, they're happy, crisp, and ready to help," says Kozai. "I don't feel like I'm just a number there. I feel like I'm a real person who people care about."

The Port Perry Experience

The Port Perry ExperienceDelivering close to home was something Alissa Reid had hoped for. She was nearing the end of her first pregnancy and the short drive from her house to Port Perry Hospital allowed for better peace of mind. But on August 25th, the temporary closure of Port Perry Hospital quickly changed her birth plan.

"I was about 37 weeks along and I was completely shocked when I heard about the fire at Port Perry Hospital," says Reid. "I didn't plan on going anywhere else."

Nearly three weeks later, Baby Violet was born around 3:30 a.m. at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa by a Port Perry physician, one of many new processes that have been developed for patients and families affected by the Port Perry Hospital fire.

All services at Port Perry Hospital are now being delivered at other locations within our hospital system while Lakeridge Health works to restore and reopen the Port Perry Hospital.

"We understand that some of our new moms from Port Perry are disappointed that they have to change their birth plans," says Julie Rojas, Patient Care Manager of the Birthing Suite in Port Perry and Oshawa. "We've worked with our physician partners at Medical Associates in Port Perry to ensure that a Port Perry physician is on-call 24 hours a day to care for labouring Port Perry moms in Oshawa."

"We want patients and families from Port Perry to receive the best experience possible," she adds.

Approximately 30 babies are delivered each month at Port Perry Hospital. With the on-call rotation, Port Perry moms may not be paired with the same Port Perry physician who provided their prenatal care.

"You're still getting the Port Perry experience and other than relocating, it's been wonderful," says Alissa.

 Home in Time for Easter

Laverne HarveyIf Laverne Harvey looks happy, it's because he's going home tomorrow - just in time to spend Easter Sunday with his family.

Laverne has been in hospital since Oct. 15 being treated for a severe infection to his artificial hip. He and his wife Lois joke that they've come to know every corner of Lakeridge Health, with him having been treated in Emergency, Critical Care, Surgery, Dialysis and Rehabilitation.

"The care we've received has just been great. We've been very well looked after," said Laverne. He Credits his care team with helping him "learn how to do everything again" especially his physiotherapist Lisa Henry, Rehabilitation Assistants Denise McMillan and Michelle Theriault and Occupational Therapist Eunice Yoshiki.