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“I’ve never experienced care like this, anywhere.”

During peaks in the COVID-19 pandemic, Sault Area Hospital has been able to accept critical cases from areas that are overwhelmed. Thanks to your donations, we’ve been able to provide lifesaving care to patients like Kerri.

Kerri Watson doesn’t remember arriving at Sault Area Hospital.

She remembers a paramedic helping her onto a gurney in her driveway in Toronto. She remembers flashes of a hospital room at Humber River General Hospital. But after that – she doesn’t remember anything until she woke up at Sault Area Hospital... months later.

COVID had hit Kerri hard. She had a test on a Friday, got results on Saturday, and was admitted to hospital by Monday. With a history of asthma, Kerri was struggling to breathe – and ended up on a ventilator, fighting for her life.

As Southern Ontario started to get overwhelmed with cases, a decision was made to transfer Kerri to SAH, hundreds of kilometers away from her family who were isolated at home with COVID.

At first, Kerri’s family was terrified with her being so far away – but it didn’t take long for them to realize she was where she was meant to be.

“Everyone has been like family. They take care of you, they’re understanding, compassionate – the nurses are exceptional. I’ve never experienced care like this, anywhere.”

Kerri’s new “family” on 3C knew how hard the distance would be for her husband and parents, so they made a point of calling with updates every day. Sometimes twice a day. When Kerri was up late, or seemed lonely, caregivers would stop in to talk with her and keep her company. When her care team found out that Kerri had made it to SAH without any shoes or slippers, they tracked down a pair in her size. And when Kerri got some disappointing news, someone brought in pizza for her, for dinner. The team knew these were things her family would do if they could be there – so they stepped in to be her family.

Kerri’s road to recovery has been slow. At first, it was hard for her to even get out of bed. Working with a rehabilitation team, Kerri started by just walking from her bed to the door and back. She is still using a walker, but is much stronger than she once was.

On June 30, Kerri left Sault Area Hospital – headed back to Humber River Hospital to have a drainage tube removed from her lung. When asked how she felt before she left, she said, “It’s bittersweet: I’ll miss being here. It’s like I’m leaving my family. I wish I lived closer - I’d get all my care here!”

Your support gave us the tools to care for Kerri.

Thanks to your help, Kerri had access to dozens of pieces of equipment that helped with her recovery: from the ventilator that kept her breathing, to an air bed that kept her comfortable, to the sit-to-stand trainer she used to get out of bed. Those tools were there to help care for Kerri, just like they’ve been there for thousands of people in our community.

While it’s not uncommon for complicated cases from our community to be referred to Southern Ontario for care, it’s not often we get to return the favour. Thanks to your support, we could show our “Northern hospitality” to Kerri and others like her throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.




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