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Cataract surgery patient, Joan Barnum was put at ease thanks to complete trust in her physician.

On beautiful sunny days Joan loves to be in her garden but refractive errors in her eyes were impeding her ability to see what she was doing. “When I would wear my sunglasses I couldn’t weed around the plants. I just couldn’t see them in the soil.”

Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina making image formation difficult. In Joan’s case, she was developing cataracts.

Cataracts can make normal day-to-day activities more difficult; reading in dim light or night driving become especially challenging. Joan didn’t want surgery until she absolutely needed it. “It came to a point where it was impeding my quality of life. I knew I shouldn’t wait any longer,” she says.

The thought of surgery is not a pleasant for anyone and can cause anxiety in many people. For Joan, that wasn’t an issue. Having seen Dr. Mohan Merchea at St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Ivey Eye Institute several times, she felt completely prepared for the surgery. “I felt at ease. Dr. Merchea was quite clear on the benefits and potential risks of surgery.”

Cataract surgery is a family affair at the Barnum house, with Joan’s husband Lyon having the surgery, performed by Dr. Merchea as well, six years ago. Both Joan and Lyon were pleased with their outcomes. “For me, there was a positive change immediately and as time went on, it got better,” says Joan. “You lose a great deal without your eyes; I know my life depends on them.”

Joan was so pleased with her care at St. Joseph’s Hospital that she boasted about her experience to friends. “I told any of my friends who were interested in knowing more about cataract surgery what an excellent doctor and surgeon Dr. Merchea was. The whole process at St. Joseph’s was excellent. Everyone was pleasant and attentive. St. Joseph’s is tip top in the city of London.”

Joan Barnum finds reading and gardening easier, thanks to cataract surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

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GinoGino backyard


“I was scared. There was a chance I could lose my leg.”

What began as a regular workday for millwright Gino Ianni suddenly became the worst day of his life. A portion of the 1,200-pound piece of equipment he was installing fell over, crushing his leg. Within minutes, he was in an ambulance on his way to LHSC. “I was in a lot of pain. I thought I just had a broken leg,” he says. “I didn’t know how serious it was until the resident said, ‘Your injury is beyond me. You need my boss and we’re pulling him out of surgery.’ Then I was scared.”

Dr. Abdel-Rahman Lawendy performed an emergency procedure to save Gino’s leg. The muscles had already started to die and the risk of losing his leg was imminent.

Gino emerged from surgery with a reconstructed lower leg – but he quickly realized that life as he knew it was over. His leg was painful and his mobility was so limited that it took half an hour to get to his beloved backyard workshop. It didn’t take long for post-traumatic stress and depression to take hold of this once happy and hard-working man.

“I was always the fixer, the go-to guy, but I wasn’t that guy any longer,” he says. “It felt like my life was taken away from me.” Little by little, over the course of almost two years of physiotherapy and healing, Gino’s health and mobility improved. His injury had affected every part of his life – the physical, mental and spiritual. He began the journey to remake his life. He and his wife Kelly started to travel again. They also decided to move and custom-designed and renovated their new home to begin their new way of life.

Now, Gino sees the worst day of his life as a wonderful gift of strength and resilience. “I know that as long as Kelly and I are together, there’s nothing we can’t tackle.”



facial asymmetry, age 11

Kelly was born an identical twin. However, when she was an infant, her care team at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre recognized that she was developing differently than her sister. Kelly’s parents were frightened to learn she had a condition called unicoronal synostosis or facial asymmetry.

At only 13 months of age, Kelly underwent an extensive, six-and-a-half hour surgery to fix the malformation and prevent future issues of deformity. She remained in the hospital for several days. During this difficult time, her parents found their silver lining – Kelly took her first steps while playing in the hospital’s toy room!

Now, Kelly is a lively 11-year-old girl who loves horseback riding, singing, dancing, and being silly, thanks to the amazing care she received at Children’s Hospital.

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