On March 12, Jason and his family of five had many plans for the day. He was preparing to start a new job first thing Monday morning, and later they were going to celebrate mom Jenny’s 39th birthday. All that changed when their three-year-old son Valentin had a seizure and was rushed by ambulance to the Magna Emergency Department at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital.

This wasn’t Valentin’s first time at Mackenzie Health. Back in October, a flu infection brought on his first seizure. At the time, Jason and Jenny drove their son to the Nick and Rosanne Cortellucci Emergency Department at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. The second time around, paramedics brought the family to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, where Valentin would be cared for in the Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic (PUCC) – a space designed to help keep young patients out of the busy emergency department where they are at increased risk for other infections.

At the time, Mackenzie Health and many other hospitals in the GTA were challenged with a triple threat of COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza. This put significant pressure on the emergency departments and pediatric units. Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital temporarily increased capacity in the pediatric unit and used the emergency department as a surge space when there were more children needing care than beds available.

Jason and Jenny were stationed on the fourth floor of the hospital in the state-of-the-art Woman and Child Program, where specially-trained nurses and pediatricians offered fast-track assessment, testing and treatment to care for their young son. With spacious, light-filled rooms featuring single-patient occupancy and sleeper sofas for parents to remain by their child’s side, Jason and Jenny were comforted knowing their son was in good care.

“The exceptional care and compassionate staff in the emergency department and the Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic made our stay much less stressful, and Valentin was discharged after three nights,” says Jason. “When the flu started going around, one person in the house would get sick, and right after it was someone else. It was then that Valentin had his second episode.”

Valentin began taking anti-seizure medications after his first seizure in October. Between Valentin’s growth spurt, in addition to fighting a flu in March, Jason shares after speaking with Valentin’s pediatrician at a hospital downtown Toronto, they concluded Valentin's anti-seizure medication needed to be adjusted to reflect his current weight and to keep any future seizures under control.

“Seizures may happen during illnesses such as a cold, the flu, or an ear infection,” explains Dr. David Rauchwerger, chief and medical director of the Emergency Medicine Program. “Febrile seizures are not uncommon in children and are generally caused by a child’s sudden change or spike in temperature and not necessarily due to reaching a high point or maximum temperature of a fever.”

Dr. Rauchwerger shares when patients like Valentin return to the hospital seeking urgent care or treatment, the use of the Mackenzie Health’s electronic medical record (EMR) helps health care professionals make important decisions quickly and better understand a patient’s individualized health care needs.

“No matter where a patient is being treated for at Mackenzie Health, the EMR centralizes information, reducing the time health care providers spend looking for information. From the moment patients enter the emergency department doors, our focus is to provide a world-class health experience. The EMR is one of many ways we are improving care efficiency and maximizing treatment outcomes while keeping patients and their families safe, comforted and informed along their health care journey,” says Dr. Rauchwerger.

This was the first time Jason and Jenny had visited Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital. It was also the first time they donated to their community hospital to express their gratitude for the care and treatment Valentin received. 

While the provincial government funds a significant portion of the hospital’s costs — including capital and operating costs – hospitals depend on the community to support equipment, innovation and other critical capital needs that help ensure the very best care is available close to home.

“We are very grateful to the people and the care at Mackenzie Health,” says Jason. “This incredible facility stands as living proof that more investment is needed in public health care to uplift and support everyone in need. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the continued support of our public health care system for future generations. It doesn’t matter if you are wealthy or a working-class family, every donation is valued, and when it matters most, you want to know a world-class facility is there when you need it.”