When he first met Dr. John Street at Vancouver General Hospital in July 2015, Bob Saunders was in excruciating back pain. He knew he was very ill. What he didn’t know was that by that evening he would be undergoing emergency lifesaving surgery.
“When we first saw Bob, he was unable to walk,” says Dr. Street. “Not only did he have an aggressive infection in his spine, but two vertebrae had collapsed putting pressure on his spinal cord. Bob was quickly losing the function of his spinal cord. We needed to operate immediately to remove the infection and stabilize his spine.”
Bob responded well to surgery and within six weeks, he had regained enough strength in his legs that he could go home.
“I never thought I would see my wife, Trish, again,” says Bob. “If it wasn’t for Dr. Street and the spectacular care I received from everyone at VGH, there’s no way I’d still be here.”
Overjoyed for another chance to golf and fish again, Bob expressed his gratitude by giving a generous gift to support Dr. Street’s research.
Dr. Street is one of the world’s leading spinal researchers. Based at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre at VGH, he is particularly interested in the areas of spinal infection and Quality Improvement Initiatives. One of his current research projects promises to make an immediate difference in patient care.
“We are developing a set of guidelines that will tell us when patients with spinal infections should be treated with antibiotics and when they should have surgery,” says Dr. Street. “This is the study that Mr. Saunders’ generous donation is funding.”