Going the extra mile for patients

Dr. Damon Dagnone, a physician in the KHSC-KGH site Emergency Department, has volunteered to help one of his patients in an extraordinary way…

It’s not unusual for 83-year old Barbara Pusch to venture out on a long bike ride –it’s actually her goal to ride at least 10,000 kilometres each year. Unfortunately, Barbara’s cycling season was cut short two weeks ago when she was hit by a vehicle while crossing County Road 38.

“It could have been an atomic bomb that hit me,” said Barbara. “It happened so fast – all I knew was that I was hit.”

Barbara was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Kingston Health Sciences Centre – Kingston General Hospital site (KGH) with a broken hand, cracked vertebrae, fractured rib, and a severely bruised hip.

“As a cyclist you naturally try to avoid situations like this. I have been riding for 15 years without an accident, but sometimes they happen,” explained Barbara. “I am extremely lucky it wasn’t any worse.”

After numerous CT scans and X-rays, Barbara was told she needed surgery and advised to stay off her feet for a few weeks. While this would be distressing news for anyone, Barbara was particularly upset because she had recently registered for Life Cycle, a fundraising event for the Kingston hospitals. In fact, Barbara was among the top three fundraisers and had already collected over $1,000 in pledges from her friends and family.

Fortunately for Barbara, fellow cyclist Dr. Damon Dagnone was the emergency team lead at the time. When he heard Barbara’s story, he offered to take her place in the ride – but not before checking in with his family to make sure he wasn’t busy on the day of the event.

“Sometimes, we can’t make something physically better right away,” said Dr. Dagnone. “I saw this as a meaningful way that I can help make her feel better. She’s a remarkable person, and I wanted to do something remarkable for her.”

“When he told me he would ride for me, I felt like I would rise off the bed with joy,” explained Barbara. “It was just the boost I needed to feel better right away.”

The event is a great fit for Dr. Dagnone, who admits he doesn’t have much time to get out on his bike these days. Not only is the 100km route on Wolfe Island appealing for the trauma physician, but the proceeds raised from the event will support the redevelopment of the Kingston hospitals, including the emergency department at KGH site.

Barbara is currently recovering from her injuries and although she’s disappointed that she can’t ride in Life Cycle, she has promised to continue fundraising and is excited about her partnership with Dr. Dagnone.

“He’s marvelous – all of the doctors I’ve had are marvelous. It makes me even happier to give back.”

To support Barbara and Dr. Dagnone, visit http://uhkf.kintera.org/lifecycle.