Grateful patient gives back

Community Online First

NEW GLASGOW – In 2019 during a visit on PEI, Cathy Boswell slipped and took a tumble with severe consequences. She was advised to see her doctor and set up orthopedic and physiotherapy treatments when she returned to Nova Scotia. Once home however, in pain and extreme discomfort, she decided it was best to go to the Emergency Department at the Aberdeen Hospital.

There is a clarity and decisiveness to Cathy Boswell that is apparent the moment you meet her. Born in Antigonish, she spent much of her life in Ottawa. As a young parent demanding change for the safety of her children she caught the attention of political organizers and has been involved in politics and campaigns ever since. In 2010, a few years after the death of her husband, Cathy returned to the East Coast and settled in Pictou County. She is an active, independent woman who does a lot travelling. A serious shoulder injury created a considerable barrier in her life.  

Initially reluctant to go to the Emergency Department, her experience at the Aberdeen Hospital changed any hesitation she may have felt. Looking back now she realizes it was the best decision she made. 

Although triage meant she spent several hours in Emergency, Cathy was thoroughly impressed by the depth and quality of care. Following an extensive examination, the emergency physician, Dr. Trent Peppard, suggested she wait and see the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Tahmir El-Tahan. “The doctors were wonderful,” explained Cathy. “They were personable and took time with me. I felt comfortable and confident with their care and recommendations.” At the end of the visit she was referred to the hospital’s physiotherapy clinic.

Twice a week for four months Cathy went for physiotherapy treatment. Today she is thankful to enjoy full use of her arm and hand again. She met and worked exclusively with Kaitlyn Higgins, a recent graduate from Dalhousie University with a Master of Science in physiotherapy.

“She was so attentive and thoughtful,” says Cathy. “She always wanted to know exactly what I had experienced between visits. I couldn’t be more pleased with the care I received.”

During her frequent sessions at the clinic, it wasn’t only Kaitlyn’s skill and heartfelt approach that impressed Cathy. She was surprised by how busy the clinic was and the wide variety of injuries being treated. Despite the constant flow of patients, the environment was always friendly and professional. “It ran so smoothly and staff never appeared anxious or stressed,” says Cathy. “I was thankful and felt inspired to support the team and give something back.” 

Through the Aberdeen Health Foundation Gratitude Program, Cathy was able to recognize Kaitlyn for exceptional care and to direct a donation to the Aberdeen Hospital Physiotherapy Department. This isn’t the first time Cathy has both benefited and gratefully donated to health care. She is well aware of the pressures, demands and challenges that are faced.  She wanted to share her story and shine well-deserved light on the wonderful and dedicated people at the heart of our health care system.

Speaking on behalf of Aberdeen Health Foundation, executive director Michelle Ferris says how pleased they were to hear from Cathy. “The donation arrived with a wonderful story and abundant gratitude for those involved in her care. Stories like this happen daily, and they inspired the Gratitude Program, which allows the Foundation to honour and celebrate staff who are making a difference.” Ferris added, “It’s also wonderful to see a young professional at the outset of her career demonstrating such excellence and being acknowledged in this way.”