“If you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything.”

Respiratory Therapist (RT) Dave Sahadeo has been working at VGH since 2017, helping patients who require respiratory aid to receive vital and life-saving care. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Metro Vancouver in March, it was unlike anything he had seen before.

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted my work and my life,” says Dave. “We have to wear full PPE for any COVID-positive or suspected patients. This makes it difficult to communicate between the patient and the staff as voices are muffled, and often the door is closed so you are either shouting through a glass door or trying to use a Walkie-Talkie.”

Then there’s the equipment. Any item that enters into a patient’s room that is not a hard wipeable surface or covered in plastic wrap gets disposed of because of the high risk of contamination.

This forces Dave and his fellow RT’s to be strategic about what they bring into a room to preserve supplies and reduce waste.

It’s a lot of work to care for a single patient, but this is why he chose his career – to literally help people keep breathing. Even at the cost of seeing his own family.

Personal sacrifice, for us

“I told my family goodbye several weeks ago when our first COVID-19 case popped up,” says Dave. “Many of my colleagues have self-isolated from their families as well. We all remain dedicated to providing the best patient care that we can, but it takes a huge toll and sacrifice in our personal lives to be there on the front lines for our patients.”

World-class, coordinated care is saving lives

After just 24 hours, Dr. Sekhon and Dr. Wellington have analyzed markers in the patient’s blood and characterized his immune system. This information provided to his medical team – Dr. Don Griesdale, Dana Fedor and Dave Sahadeo – is vital, allowing them to provide personalized care.

Within a few hours of initial treatment, his system begins to rebound. After only a few days, he is officially released from ICU. And just a few weeks later, he has fully recovered.

“Every patient we save from this pandemic is worth this herculean effort,” says Dr. Griesdale. “When we received our first COVID-infected patient, it was a fearful time. But every day at VGH we are learning more, and through research and expert care, we will find the answers to beat this disease.”

Thank you for your support

As quickly as all our lives changed when COVID-19 arrived in BC, so did our community’s response.

Thank you to all those who have supported the Foundation’s COVID-19 fundraising efforts. Your gifts support our health care teams on the front lines to provide the best possible care, and ensure our researchers are able to continue to mobilize with others from around the world to treat and cure COVID-19. Continue reading.

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