I was driving home from a baby shower, and I knew something was wrong when that light turned green and the driver in front of me didn’t move or respond to my honking. I jumped out of my car, followed by a few others. The driver was unconscious, but still had a pulse.
We got him out of the car and onto the ground. He lost his pulse so I started CPR. His pulse came back, but was lost again. I continued CPR with the help of a bystander I recruited until emergency responders arrived and shocked him with a defibrillator, regaining his pulse once more.
I don’t feel I did anything another person wouldn’t have done, but being able to rely on my experience as a nurse in the Sunnybrook emergency department definitely gives me the confidence to know I can handle any situation I encounter.
A few weeks later I got to meet the man, his wife, and their three children. We couldn’t get over how fortunate it was I happened to be in the car behind him. It was definitely a ‘right time, right place’ moment.
I really can’t see myself working anywhere else but the emergency department at Sunnybrook. I love the high energy, and the adrenaline that comes with never really knowing what my day is going to entail. The people I work with are amazing. We communicate really well as a team, and support each other. Every day I learn something new from them.
The greatest satisfaction though, comes from helping our patients. Providing comfort, catching complications before they become worse, and saving lives – these are the best rewards I can imagine. When I came to the aid of the man in Ajax, it was second nature. It’s what I do every day. – As told to Laura Bristow
LAUGHTER, THE BEST MEDICINE
After completing medical school at the University of Toronto, Dr. Vikas Bansal joined the Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre at Sunnybrook in 2008 as a hospitalist – a physician focusing on caring for hospitalized patients. He enjoys helping them through research, developing new policies and guidelines – and by bringing humour onto the ward.
I’ve always been passionate about comedy and medicine. During medical school, I was able to combine these passions by getting involved with Daffydil, an annual musical production put on by students in the Faculty
With residency, however, came long hours, and it was harder to find a work-life balance. After some time without comedy in my life, I felt as though I was starting to lose my human connection. I wanted to find a career in medicine that would allow me enough flexibility to continue participating in comedy, even in a small way.
Humour is important because it’s the ultimate disarming tactic. I use it every day, whether that’s with a patient, a colleague or while creating a skit for the annual Holland Centre staff holiday party. During my hospitalist fellowship, I made a decision to take improv classes at Second City, and spent the summer performing in a show at a comedy club downtown.
Improv and practising medicine have more in common than many people realize. Most people think improv is a competition to see who is the funniest on stage, but it’s really about letting your colleagues shine. Before going on stage, our comedy troupe had a tradition of putting our hands on each others’ shoulders, looking each other in the eye and saying ‘I will make you look good.’
The hard work of the nurses, the mobility efforts of physiotherapy, the safety assessments and disposition plans of occupational therapy and social work – there is no doubt we help each other shine.
Improv is all about working to help the other person on stage. Just like in medicine, there are many people contributing to one story, which needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Listening to those people and trusting them is so important. The risk is huge, but the payoff is worth it.
– As told to Sybil Edmonds
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