Spotlight: Donald L. Macdonald
Keeping the Life You Got Back
By Donald L. Macdonald Q.C. Retired
My long association with West Park began in the mid-1970s when the skilled and dedicated prosthetist who had made and serviced my left below-the-elbow
prosthesis retired. The advice from my father, who had been Chief of Medicine at Sunnybrook while it was a veteran’s hospital, was “you better get yourself over to West Park” and he offered to facilitate the introduction. I soon realized that West Park was the passport to keeping the life I had worked to get back.
If you ask why, it is because whenever either of the two prosthetic left arms West Park built for me has been in need of repair or replacement, the attitude and approach of the wonderful medical and technical staff at West Park has always been “what is the best solution for this patient,” as they consistently worked to get me a properly fitted and functional prosthesis as soon as possible.
Let me illustrate this with an example. On a recent occasion, as I sat in the prosthetics department waiting for a diagnosis of a malfunction and fully expecting to be told by the technician that I would have to leave the prosthesis with them for a couple of days, I actually started to chuckle when I heard the sound of a drill and realized that my prosthesis was being repaired there and then. I said to myself, how often does one have a problem with a sophisticated apparatus diagnosed and repaired the same day, but this was West Park, and true to their approach and commitment, the technician saw that there was a ready fix, so why not do it now and let this man walk out with his hand.
Since my prostheses were so well made, my visits to West Park as a patient have been sporadic over nearly five decades. But those visits, and just knowing that West Park has and will be there to help me keep the life I got back after my traumatic amputation as a teenager, coupled with the inner strength I have seen in the faces of other more seriously disabled patients, have always left me with a renewed sense of encouragement.
My experience also left me wanting to show my appreciation by making annual contributions to West Park and becoming a member in the Hazel and Kingsley Fox Society. I have also enjoyed attending various events, including the Groundbreaking Ceremony in 2018 for the new hospital.
And what a wonderful hospital the new West Park Healthcare Centre promises to be, not only because it will be a state-of-the-art and larger facility, but because it will be imbued with the spirit of West Park and its renowned reputation, earned over its long and remarkable history through the skill and dedication of all those who have served at the hospital.