It was 4 am when Lakhwir Boparan received the phone call.
Her 28-year-old son was involved in a terrible accident where he was hit by a car and thrown 40 feet in the air.
In a place of denial and overwhelmed with fear, Lakh and her family quickly rushed to Vancouver General Hospital’s Emergency Room. She was horrified to see her son covered in blood, suffering from multiple serious injuries. He screamed in agony, the immediacy of the accident sent him into shock.
“The only thing I could do was to try and comfort him, to let him know I was here,” says Lakh. “I sat there holding his hand, pouring my energy into him to give him the strength to survive.”
A bustling team of nurses and doctors surrounded him, working hard to save his life.
That day was the longest wait of Lakh’s life. Her son required a 10-hour emergency surgery to save his shattered leg and repair his broken pelvis. Constantly looking at the clock, the restless and worried mother knew that her son’s life was now in the hands of the medical team at VGH. She waited patiently praying for a miracle.
Then, the first signs of hope, the surgery was successful. But there was another discovery: her son had suffered a serious brain injury. With her son on life support and suffering from brain damage, Lakh’s family was devastated.
“My son was a free spirit and loved to travel. I kept thinking that this couldn’t be the end, he had his whole life ahead of him,” says Lakh.
Lakh’s story, sadly, is a common one. Motor vehicle crashes in BC are the second leading cause of unintentional injury hospitalizations in the province. While the majority of crashes involve injury to occupants, injuries are also sustained by motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians like Lakh’s son, resulting in approximately 1.2 fatalities and 18 hospitalizations per day in BC.
But Lakh did not lose hope. She maintained a constant vigil by her son’s bedside in ICU and post-surgery while he received specialized care in the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn, Plastic and Trauma Unit at VGH, home to providing patient care for burn and accident survivors. The road to recovery remained difficult.
After a 7-day coma, Lakh’s son awoke in massive pain due to nerve damage. After multiple tests and scans, medical experts discovered that there was no movement and feeling to his foot and lower leg.
Still, his resilience proved to be indomitable. He spent two months recovering from his injuries at VGH and then was admitted to GF Strong Rehab Centre where he learned to walk again.
“We are extremely lucky. My son is where he is today because of the amazing care he received at VGH and GF Strong,” says Lakh. “It’s been almost 10 years since the accident and he is still travelling and is now a father to a beautiful daughter.”
For this year’s Angel Campaign, Lakh is honouring all the doctors, nurses and specialists at VGH and GF Strong who helped care for her son. “I am grateful for the compassion and empathy of the entire medical team. They made me feel like my son was the only patient that mattered. They were the light in a time of darkness who gave me that miracle I had hoped for – they are all angels.”