Marissa’s Story

Take a look behind the curtain at Marissa’s story and how the generosity of this community makes the impossible, possible.

It was just like any other day for Marissa, a young woman from Penticton, as she headed out ATV’ing with friends as she had done many times before.  But that day was different. “We hit a bump, and I was impaled by a tree.  It went through my stomach and came out the left part of my back,” says Marissa matter-of-factly.  But Marissa’s case was far more complex and her condition was one of most critical the skilled team of first responders and KGH’s trauma team had ever seen.  “None of us have every had a case like this,” says Dr. Ertel.  “To take back the blanket and see a tree in a person, a 14-year old girl… it’s pretty powerful stuff.  I really question whether or not she would have survived had we not had the trauma room that we do at KGH.”

L to R: Dr. Mike Ertel, Marissa Lemioer, Anne Lemioer

In 2012, a single donor, Charles. A. Fipke, presented the KGH Foundation with a gift of $1million to specifically support the needs of KGH’s Emergency Department. This incredible gift allowed the hospital to acquire the most advanced trauma suite in the country.  The FAST Trauma Suite contains within it the most state of the art medical equipment and technology available. As a result, the trauma team of physicians, nurses and first responders are capable of a much higher standard of urgent and emergent care than ever before.

Donors are literally transforming KGH from the inside out.  Not only did the FAST Trauma suite make it possible to save Marissa’s life, but it is an incredible teaching environment for our academic learners.  These modern, highly advanced acquisitions also allow KGH to attract the best and brightest physicians in the country, including Dr. Devin Harris, KGH’s Emergency Medical Director and recently appointed Chief of Staff.  Dr. Harris came to KGH from Vancouver, and speaks of being ‘floored’ the first time he toured the KGH Department with what existed there.