Richard's Surgical Journey

A Father’s Story of Survival


In 2015 Richard Gafney and his wife, Adrienne, were raising their four-year-old son, Sebastian, and excitedly anticipating the birth of their second child.

Things were going well until one January day, when Richard was riding his bike to work, he was struck by both a bus and dump truck, causing severe lower-leg trauma.

Within 15 minutes of the accident, he was taken to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

Richard had multiple fractures in both legs as well as a head injury – his left leg was bleeding and there was no blood supply to his left foot.

Doctors didn’t know if they would be able to save his left leg.

“I have no memory of the accident and I’m told that’s probably a good thing.”

“Although he was really badly injured, I knew that he was in good hands,” says Adrienne. “It was just a matter of trusting that these people had the training and knowledge, as well as access to the equipment to save his life.”

Eventually, Dr. Anthony Salvain, the vascular surgeon working on Richard, as well as the speciality teams in orthopaedics and plastics at VGH, stopped the bleeding and got the circulation going in his foot again, saving his leg.

“All the health care teams I had at VGH, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong were phenomenal in the hourly care they gave me.”

The Road to Recovery

Richard underwent multiple surgeries before beginning the long journey of rehabilitation.

Today, thanks to the care at VGH, UBC Hospital and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Richard is able to walk again and play with his two kids.

“It was a really exciting day to go home – it had been 18 weeks at that point,” Richard says, smiling.

And it was just in time. Three weeks after Richard came home, Adrienne gave birth to a beautiful girl named Abigail.

“About four weeks after I had been discharged, I was just so glad to be home and see her and spend time together” he says.

VGH is one of only two accredited Level 1 adult trauma centres in BC. In order to maintain and expand the level of surgical excellence needed to saved lives like Richard’s we need your support. Donate today.

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