Blog - HYC Profile: The Most Precious Gift

This month, a team of four extraordinary caregivers from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Kingston Health Science Centre’s (KHSC) Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site were honoured for their skill, dedication, compassion, enthusiasm, daily presence and prayers.

In a heartfelt message to caregivers, Dr. Jonathan von Kodar wrote, “I must live with the loss of my wife for the rest of my life. I take great comfort that she could not have had a better doctor and team watching over her. I am forever grateful that she passed away quietly, peacefully and without suffering or distress.” Dianne Marie Teresa Cole passed away at KGH on January 23, 2017.
Dr. von Kodar made Honour Your Caregiver tribute gifts to staff from across the ICU’s spectrum of care. In alphabetical order, they are as follows:
Antonina Baglio, Patient Care Assistant
Rev. James Graham, Chaplain, Pastoral Care
Dr. Daniel Howes, Department Head, Emergency Medicine/Critical Care
Dr. Alan MacVicar, Physiotherapist

Rev. James Graham said, “To be able to receive acknowledgment that our journey with them, into and through death, has had a lifelong impact—a remembrance of our level of caring and holding and supporting them during this most difficult time in their life—there can’t be a more precious gift given.”

James readily admits that the nature of care in the ICU can lend itself to “compassion fatigue,” with staff being “consistently exposed to very critical traumas…on an ongoing, regular basis.”

He says, “Patients in the ICU are at a liminal state when they come in. They’re on a threshold. That’s why they’re there. They’ve gotten so sick they need to be intubated, for example. We do our best to support patients and provide the interventions they need.”

While some level of detachment is required to cope with what might otherwise be an insurmountable level of grief, “there are some cases,” James says, “that seem to just stay with you. Those stories become our stories. We carry them with us.”
“These tribute gifts have been particularly moving and meaningful,” says Karen Humphreys Blake, Acting President and CEO, UHKF, “they speak to a level of excellence in care embedded across the ICU for which many in our community are tremendously grateful.”
In Memory of Dianne Marie Teresa Cole
May 9, 1965 - January 23, 2017
Honour Your Caregiver is a tribute giving program of UHKF where grateful patients, and their loved ones, can make a donation in honour of outstanding individual healthcare providers, or care teams. Honorees will receive a personalized message and a special certificate. For more information on how to honour a caregiver who has made a difference in your life, visit