At the centre of the COVID-19 crisis you will find the front-line staff of The Ottawa Hospital. Nurses, doctors, and researchers working day and night to heal our patients and find a cure.

Their stories are ones of emotion, dedication, and determination. They are relentless in the fight against this global pandemic. They are husbands, wives, moms, and dads. They are our neighbours.

And they have an incredible story to tell.

Taha Azad
Researcher
Researcher
Taha Azad

“This is the greatest teamwork I've ever seen in my life.” — Dr. Taha Azad, Researcher

 

Francis Bakewell
Emergency medicine technician
Dr. Francis Bakewell, Emergency medicine technician at The Ottawa Hospital
Emergency medicine technician
Francis Bakewell

“The particular stress with us is not knowing what’s coming in the door. You have to be prepared for every patient potentially having an infection.” – Dr. Francis Bakewell, Emergency Medicine Physician

 

Gwen Barton, Regional Cancer Program 
Gwen Barton
Regional Cancer Program
Gwen Barton, Regional Cancer Program 
Regional Cancer Program
Gwen Barton

"Our front-line teams did some amazing work. They went above and beyond to not only provide the care that they normally do in such a caring way to make that patient experience as best as it could be, but they also became that person that provided all those extras for the person when they were here getting treatment." - Gwen Barton, Regional Cancer Program

 

Sylvain Boet
Clinician and researcher
Dr. Sylvain Boet
Clinician and researcher
Sylvain Boet

“A lot of changes happened in a very short amount of time… Our department quickly reorganized itself to take advantage of everyone’s skills in the best possible way.” – Dr. Sylvain Boet, Clinician and researcher

 

Chris Bredeson
Head of Malignant Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation
Dr. Bredeson
Head of Malignant Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation
Chris Bredeson

“I think that we forget how hard it is for patients. Even though we have iPads or telephones or smart phones - we can communicate with the family members on rounds as needed. To not have your loved one or caregiver there with you is very hard.” –  Dr. Chris Bredeson, Head of Malignant Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation

 

Dr. Marc Carrier The Ottawa Hospital Front-line Diaries
Marc Carrier
Hematologist
Dr. Marc Carrier The Ottawa Hospital Front-line Diaries
Hematologist
Marc Carrier

"The blood clot unit in Ottawa is very, very world-famous and it was just normal for them to take the lead and design the protocols for our community." – Dr. Marc Carrier, Hematologist

 

Manager of CARE Environment, John Casselman
John Casselman
Manager of CARE Environment
Manager of CARE Environment, John Casselman
Manager of CARE Environment
John Casselman

"…they show our patients how much they care. Quite often sometimes it’s the most simplistic things, offering a warm blanket...There’s a committed group of healthcare professionals here at the hospital that are here to make sure that they are going to receive the best possible care.” - John Casselman

 

Dr. Chowdhury, Infectious disease physician
Fahad Chowdhury
Infectious disease physician
Dr. Fahad Chowdhury, Infectious disease physician
Dr. Chowdhury, Infectious disease physician
Infectious disease physician
Fahad Chowdhury

"The pandemic was a totally new ballgame... We had to reach out to colleagues in Asia and Europe to figure out their side of things and learn from their experiences. So, it was quite a novel experience for all of us here at The Ottawa Hospital." - Dr. Fahad Chowdhury, Infectious disease physician

 

Heather Clark
Medical Director for Ambulatory Care
Medical Director for Ambulatory Care
Heather Clark

“We need to provide care for our patients. So, we need to be ready to ramp up care as it’s needed and we need to be able to return to, potentially, back to the phase one of our strategy if that’s required to protect our patients and our healthcare resources.” – Dr. Heather Clark, Medical Director for Ambulatory Care

 

Dr. Juthaporn Cowan
Juthaporn Cowan
Clinician and researcher
Dr. Juthaporn Cowan
Dr. Juthaporn Cowan
Clinician and researcher
Juthaporn Cowan

“In the end we would like to be able to find intervention or procedures that can help minimize the impact of the infection to the physiological and psychological health.” – Dr. Juthaporn Cowan, Medical Director, Clinician and researcher

 

Kate Duke
Clinical Manager Cancer Centre
Clinical Manager Cancer Centre
Kate Duke

"I think as healthcare workers, we have a fundamental purpose. And that purpose was one of the most grounding drivers that made it really easy to come to work. We’ve got to be here. We need to serve our community.” – Kate Duke, Clinical Manager Cancer Centre

 

Dr. Darine El-Chaâr
Darine El-Chaâr
Maternal fetal medicine specialist
Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, Maternal fetal medicine specialist
Dr. Darine El-Chaâr
Maternal fetal medicine specialist
Darine El-Chaâr

“We had to find strategies to keep providing care and keeping our patients safe from the get-go.” - Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, Maternal fetal medicine specialist

 

Dr. George Grammatopoulos, Orthopaedic surgeon
George Grammatopoulos
Orthopaedic surgeon
Dr. Grammatopoulos, Orthopaedic surgeon
Dr. George Grammatopoulos, Orthopaedic surgeon
Orthopaedic surgeon
George Grammatopoulos

"Breaking bad news wasn’t great but patients were fantastic and very understanding. Part of our work also involves trauma and despite COVID [-19], there were still injuries taking place….” — Dr. George Grammatopoulos, Orthopaedic surgeon

 

Genevieve Hache, Front-line Diaries interview still
Geneviève Haché
Screener
Genevieve Hache, Screener at The Ottawa Hospital
Genevieve Hache, Front-line Diaries interview still
Screener
Geneviève Haché

"At first I heard about all this information coming in and all those new cases popping up everywhere. But this is a job in healthcare, which I’m really interested in, it’s a really unique experience and the team really helped me to feel comfortable in this environment with all these protection measures that they had set up for us.” - Geneviève Haché, Screener

 

Registered Nurse, Victoria Hudson
Victoria Hudson
Registered Nurse
Victoria Hudson, Registered Nurse
Registered Nurse, Victoria Hudson
Registered Nurse
Victoria Hudson

“It can be very difficult for the families for sure and we, as the NICU team, are in the business of helping to build family bonds.” - Victoria Hudson, Registered Nurse

 

Josee Laplante, Registered Nurse, Special Care Nursery
Josée Laplante
Registered Nurse, Special Care Nursery
Registered Nurse, Special Care Nursery - Josee Laplante
Josee Laplante, Registered Nurse, Special Care Nursery
Registered Nurse, Special Care Nursery
Josée Laplante

“We were very impressed to see how most people were very, very understanding. We were going through something big and new and unknown. And they were so, so great at cooperating and following our instructions.” – Josée Laplante, Registered Nurse, Special Care Nursery

Dr. Jennifer Leppard, Emergency Department physician
Jennifer Leppard
Emergency Department physician
Dr. Leppard, Emergency Department physician
Dr. Jennifer Leppard, Emergency Department physician
Emergency Department physician
Jennifer Leppard

"Everything that we did changed. The way that we triaged people, the way that we cared for people, the way that we provided critical care. All of that had to change for us to keep ourselves safe and to keep our patients safe.” - Dr. Jennifer Leppard, Emergency Department physician

 

Dr. Matthew Lipinski
Matthew Lipinski
Emergency medicine physician
Dr. Matthew Lipinski, Emergency medicine physician
Dr. Matthew Lipinski
Emergency medicine physician
Matthew Lipinski

"Emergency medicine — unpredictable things are just sort of the name of the game with that, so I think the training that we’ve had, as well as all of our allied health nurses and everyone else, has given us the ability to quickly adapt to our new reality with COVID-19 and the pandemic.” - Dr. Matthew Lipinski, Emergency medicine physician

 

Dr. Lindsey McMurray
Lindsey McMurray
Emergency medicine physician
Dr. Lindsey McMurray, Emergency medicine physician
Dr. Lindsey McMurray
Emergency medicine physician
Lindsey McMurray

“I think in some ways, in the emergency department, we were lucky in a sense that we never know what’s coming in and part of our training is to really be prepared for anything. So, I think we had a certain level of resiliency.” - Dr. Lindsey McMurray, Emergency medicine physician

 

Daisy Moores
Division Head, Maternal and Newborn Care
Division Head, Maternal and Newborn Care
Daisy Moores

“I have been so impressed at the resiliency that we have seen. Both in our patients and in the community and in the care providers that I work with. Everyone has risen to just dealing with this and taking care of themselves and everyone else as best they can.” – Dr. Daisy Moores, Division Head, Maternal and Newborn Care

 

Adam Pietrobron MD and PhD Student
Adam Pietrobron
MD and PhD student at The Ottawa Hospital
MD and PhD student, Adam Pietrobron
Adam Pietrobron MD and PhD Student
MD and PhD student at The Ottawa Hospital
Adam Pietrobron

“I don’t think there’s anything more impactful than rushing to do research that will directly translate and have an impact, and a therapeutic impact on patients. Not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now, but this year – this month.” – Adam Pietrobon, student researcher

 

Glenn Posner
Medical Director, Skills and Simulation Centre and Obstetrician
Medical Director, Skills and Simulation Centre and Obstetrician
Glenn Posner

“I got the idea from one of my own patients. Virtual reality video gave patients a sense of okay; this is what it’s going to look like for me to walk in the front door of the General Hospital or the front door of the Civic Hospital.” – Dr. Glenn Posner, Medical Director, Skills and Simulation Centre and Obstetrician

 

Julie Renaud
Radiation Medicine Program
Radiation Medicine Program
Julie Renaud

"When the pandemic hit, as much as we were worried about COVID [-19], we were also worried about maintaining the crucial services for our patients.” - Julie Renaud, Radiation Medicine Program

 

Mike Soloski
Volunteer
Volunteer
Mike Soloski

“I couldn’t picture myself at home doing nothing. I just really wanted to be where things were, where I could be useful” ­­­­­­­­– Mike Soloski, Volunteer

 

Joselyn Banks
Retired Nurse
Retired Nurse
Joselyn Banks

“[Coming out of retirement] was actually a quick decision…my family, friends and loved ones were very supportive of that.” -Joselyn Banks

 

Tony Camposarcone
Tony Camposarcone
Manager, Care Environment Department
Tony Camposarcone
Manager, Care Environment Department
Tony Camposarcone

“[My team will] tell you that they’re on edge, they’re stressed out with what is happening, but they’re able to put all that aside and focus on what’s important…We’re here for the patients, and we want to make them feel good about themselves and their treatment.” —Tony Camposarcone, Manager, Care Environment Department

 

Kristen Dupuis
Professional Practice Manager, Respiratory Therapy and Cardiopulmonary Services
Professional Practice Manager, Respiratory Therapy and Cardiopulmonary Services
Kristen Dupuis

“What we want is to ensure that our colleagues [are safe]. And our colleagues are like family—when you’ve been working somewhere for twenty years, work is your family.” —Kristen Dupuis

 

Samantha Halman
PROGRAM DIRECTOR, GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE RESIDENCY PROGRAM
PROGRAM DIRECTOR, GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE RESIDENCY PROGRAM
Samantha Halman

“We have had instances where patients were really not doing well and the healthcare workers at the hospital were the only people there to hold their hand.” -Dr. Samantha Halman

 

Kwadwo Kyeremanteng
Physician, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Palliative Care
Physician, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Palliative Care
Kwadwo Kyeremanteng

“When we started to see some cases coming through, tension was high. And then, slowly, those nerves started to settle when we got accustomed to what the patients look like and what to expect...[We] got a sense that we could manage these cases and we weren’t being overrun—because of the measures that people were doing out in society with social distancing.” — Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng

 

Jan Leahy
Clinical Manager, Thoracic Surgery
Clinical Manager, Thoracic Surgery
Jan Leahy

“It’s difficult to really explain what it’s like…Probably half of the staff, when they get to their car, just sit down and cry. And then they go home.” --Jan Leahy

 

Seth Oduro
Manager, Environmental Services
Manager, Environmental Services
Seth Oduro

“One of the concerns I had at the beginning of this pandemic was that staff would not show up to work due to fear of contracting the virus. [That is] legitimate. But every day, people have come to work…It gives me the confidence that in the future, whatever comes our way we can rally together and be able to fight it.” - Seth Oduro, Manager, Environmental Services

 

Adnan Sheikh
Director, 3-D Printing Laboratory
Director, 3-D Printing Laboratory
Adnan Sheikh

“I feel privileged to live in Ottawa. Our community support system is the best in the world.” —Dr. Adnan Sheikh, Director, 3-D Printing Laboratory

 

John Trickett
John Trickett
DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY CARE
John Trickett
DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY CARE
John Trickett

“[It has been meaningful to hear] the appreciation from the patients who come through that busy environment that’s coping with three to four hundred people a day--that we’re still demonstrating the compassion and the excellence in service that people expect to receive, and that staff want to give, as if everybody was their loved one. That’s the message I’m hearing consistently even fifty-three days later…they’re getting excellent care.” - John Trickett

 

Irene Watpool
Program Manager for Research, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Program Manager for Research, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Irene Watpool

“For those [studies we’re conducting], there’s no absolute benefit to the patient and yet they’re agreeing to having us poke them and take those extra swabs without hesitation…They say to you, ‘I just really would like to help other people, I wouldn’t wish this on anybody else, I want to help.’ This is what they’re doing it for.” — Irene Watpool, Program Manager for Research, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

 

Andrew Willmore
Medical Director, Department of Emergency Management
Medical Director, Department of Emergency Management
Andrew Willmore

“It has been a tremendous amount of work. There are long days, but it’s very important work, and I’m really confident and really proud of the people that I’m working with. Everybody knows how important this is. It’s just our time to put our heads down and continue doing what needs to be done.”--Dr. Andrew Willmore

 

The Ottawa Hospital and Bell Media are partnering together to launch a series featuring our front-line workers and their personal stories. Front-line Diaries will feature dozens of staff who are at the heart of our local COVID-19 relief efforts. Using two-way video technology, Bell Media journalists will interview staff at The Ottawa Hospital who will guide them through a ‘show and tell’ style of interview. Check back frequently for more entries from the Front-line Diaries.

Support our hospital heroes by making a donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

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Mierins family donates match gift to support COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
The Mierins Family Foundation is donating up to $250,000 in a match gift in support of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.