VGH Emergency Saved My Life, Christmas Eve, 1971 | Knowledge.ca
VGH Emergency Saved My Life, Christmas Eve, 1971
Submitted by:
Valerie McCafferty

I was 21 on December 24, 1971, when struck by a vehicle while crossing on East 57th avenue in Vancouver. I was three houses down the road from where I was crossing...it wasn't known if I was carried on the vehicle or thrown into a parked car. The ambulance took me to VGH emergency. I remember waking a couple of times in the ambulance and found out later (from the ambulance attendants) that I would regain consciousness and tell them 'I am not going to die' and 'I know something is wrong with my leg--amputate it--I don't want to die'. In emergency I remember blood being put into both arms and was trying to watch as they made a small incision in my abdomen to see if I was bleeding internally. There was no pain--by body was totally in shock. I also remember the insertion of the tube into my nose...I pulled it out when I started gagging on it. A nurse was kind enough to inform me that if I swallowed when I felt the tube at the back of my throat, it would slip down easier, which it did. I had been struck on the right side--my pelvic bone cracked and the femur broke in many pieces. It was a compound fracture and the bone had come out of the upper thigh and the leg was 3 inches shorter than the left one. I was given four units of blood, stablized and given a shot of moraphine. I remember nothing of the setting of the leg the next morning--just that I woke up in intensive care, in traction. I was in VGH for exactly three months--in traction for 9-10 weeks and a type of body cast for the next 10 weeks. The hospital stay and recovery is a whole other story. I do have photos of being in traction and in the cast--if you would like to see them I will find them and copy to my computer and send them to you. I owe my life to the staff of VGH.

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