‘I know all the nurses by name’, says Patrick James of MGH’s oncology team, ‘they’re my second family’

Ellen Samek


Patrick James has been coming to MGH nearly every week for four years.

Four years ago, Patrick was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Despite everything going on in his life, he tries to find little pieces of joy.

“When I was first diagnosed they told me I didn’t have a lot of time left, and four years later I’m still going,” he said. “I try to have a positive outlook on life and to take things one day at a time.”

The 74-year-old has been living in East York for over 40 years and is proud to call MGH his community hospital.

Patrick currently receives chemotherapy at MGH to treat his cancer. For him, the oncology department is like a second family.

“I know all the nurses by name. When I go in for my care I’m not just a number to them. They treat me like I’m somebody. Their kindness has helped me get through so much over the last four years.”

One of the nurses Patrick sees regular is Cathy Grant. Cathy has been a nurse at MGH for 41 years and working with oncology patients since 2005. She has known Patrick since he first started his treatment.

“You want to treat people the way you want to be treated,” says Cathy.

“You never know what life will bring you and I know that if the roles were reversed and I was a patient I would want to be treated with empathy and compassion. They are going through a very difficult time and because we’re a community hospital, we get to know our patients very well. We know what’s going on in their lives.”

When he’s not at the hospital, Patrick spends time with his family. His wife, daughter and grandchildren are his greatest inspiration and strength. He is currently looking forward to celebrating his 75th birthday on Christmas Eve amongst family and friends.

“Everyone at Michael Garron Hospital is so kind and so gentle,” said Patrick. “I feel so comfortable when I go in for treatment and if I ever needed it, I know I can call them any time for anything.”

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