Since delivering her first child in March of 2015 at The Scarborough Hospital’s (TSH) General campus, Sheena Karim has sat down many times in front of her computer to submit a patient feedback form about the care she received from Registered Nurse Catherine Cheung.
Seven months later, Sheena finally found the right words to express her gratitude for Catherine, who is credited with saving her newborn’s life.
Sheena’s pregnancy had been a difficult one, resulting in the need for her labour to be induced a month before her due date and for her baby – a son she named Daniel – to be delivered by emergency Caesarian section. The day following Daniel’s birth, Catherine was checking on Sheena and the baby and noticed he was not breathing.
“Catherine quickly started to pat his back, while getting help from other hospital staff,” said Sheena.
“Luckily, Daniel began breathing again before Catherine even got out of my room, but I was told by (TSH Medical Director and Corporate Chief of Paediatrics) Dr. Peter Azzopardi that Catherine’s quick reaction saved my son’s life.”
Daniel spent five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to re-administer his newborn screening tests, and for further observation. Today, he is a happy, healthy baby.
“As the months have gone by, there has not been a single day where Catherine has not crossed my mind,” admits Sheena.
“She not only saved my son’s life, but she helped me through the most difficult time in my life. She helped me to grieve the idea of not having a natural delivery. And she listened to me cry over my son being in the NICU and not being able to hold him in my arms. She understood that having a baby is not just a physical act, but a very emotional experience, especially when the situation is not ideal.”
As Sheena watches her son “grow into an independent, young infant, I cannot help but feel grateful for this wonderful nurse and human being. Her kindness and genuine concern for her patients illustrates what Ontario’s health care system should stand for.”