Sarah Baker went through a tough time with her son, Stuart Hunter, at BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, but nearly two dozen years later, she looks back at the care her son received and is grateful.
“My son got absolutely excellent care,” she says, “and the doctors and nurses were so patient with me.”
Sarah is a nurse and would panic when she watched the cardiac monitor.
“I’d look at his blood pressure and say ‘Oh my gosh, why is it so low?’ But they would explain to me that it’s normal for a preemie. The doctors and nurses were nothing but supportive.”
Stuart had a collapsed lung and had to be ventilated for a week. He was tube fed and intubated as he spent nearly three weeks in a special-care nursery.
Two months later, on what was supposed to be Stuart’s actual due date, Sarah brought him back to the BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.
“I could just sense something was wrong,” she says. “I couldn’t put my finger on it.”
It turned out Stuart had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
“He nearly died that time,” Sarah says. “We had a follow up with a pediatrician, who said we had to make changes and get rid of our dog… we never did get rid of the dog. He had rotavirus at age two and outside of that, he hasn’t been hospitalized since.”
Stuart is now 23 years old over six feet tall. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in French. He recently got 96% on his honours thesis and is headed to the University of Victoria to complete a Master of Arts degree. He’s working as research assistant and volunteers as the co-chair of the youth wing of the Green Party of Canada.
Sarah is also paying it forward, working eight weeks on/eight weeks off as a nurse in Carmacks, Yukon. The village of nearly 500 was recently in the news for being the coldest place on Earth at a bone-chilling –50 C.
“I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’ But all my life, I’ve wanted to do this type of work.”
Sarah is providing primary and emergency care – and helping families like BC Women’s and BC Children’s helped her son.
“Stuart is healthy, smart and nice,” she says, “and he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for BC Women’s and BC Children’s hospitals.”