Stories of Care - Patients

A headshot of Irma
Irma Radzick

Exceptional Care is a No-Brainer at The General

“My life could have been over in the blink of an eye.”
Irma presents a cheque for $1,800 raised by her fundraising event to her neurosurgeon, Dr. Brian van Adel.
Irma presents a cheque for $1,800 raised by her fundraising event to her neurosurgeon, Dr. Brian van Adel.

While working as a mail carrier in March 2014, Irma fell, hit her head and blacked out.

“I was initially diagnosed with a concussion,” says Irma, “but it was later discovered that I had a severe brain injury with a brain bleed.”

While surgery was not required, Irma was referred to Dr. Michael Rathbone at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre for neurotherapy. She was suffering from many deficits, including short-term memory loss, and required a cane for walking. Due to the extent of her injuries, it was determined that Irma could not return to work.

“My accident was nearly six years ago, and I still receive great care from Dr. Rathbone and his team,” says Irma. “During my follow-up appointments, I practice a number of brain and memory exercises to enhance my cognitive skills.”

To Hamilton General Hospital

Fast forward to 2018, when Irma experienced another life-changing medical complication.

Two days before Christmas, Irma was reviewing her to-do list for the holidays. She suddenly felt a sharp pain on the right side of her head. Her husband and son rushed her to a local hospital. She was later transferred to Hamilton General Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.

Under the care of Dr. Brian van Adel, Irma underwent a procedure to relieve the pressure on her brain, followed by an endovascular coiling to control bleeding.

“They later told me I had a 40 per cent chance of survival,” says Irma. “A nurse told my husband that he should consider calling a priest or minister because my chances of survival were slim.”

Irma spent 12 days in the Hospital working with Dr. van Adel’s team and a physical therapist to improve her overall health and mobility.

“Dr. van Adel and the rest of the team are like my family now. They are all amazing.”

A healthier future

Irma is recovering remarkably well from the aneurysm, but will require blood-thinning medication for the rest of her life. She is taking her post-surgical care very seriously.

“My life could have been over in the blink of an eye. Because of my experience, friends and family joined together for a fundraiser called Crop for a Cause in support of the neurosurgical program at Hamilton General Hospital. We want the funds to help other patients like me.”


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