Benjamin's Radiothon Story

Benjamin was on his computer when suddenly he felt pain in his chest – like an elastic band breaking, and then a flood of pain. When it didn’t go away, his family took him to the Emergency Department at the Alberta Children’s Hospital where experts determined the cause: Benjamin had experienced a pneumothorax – a spontaneous collapse of the lung. His family knows it all too well: Both his brother and mom have experienced it, too.

Thankfully, Benjamin was in good hands: Dr. Paul Beaudry’s, to be precise. When a tube failed to inflate Benjamin’s lung, Dr. Beaudry, Chief of Pediatric Surgery at the Alberta Children’s Hospital was ready. A CT scan showed that Benjamin had what are called lung blebs, little pockets of air that can form on the lung, and when they burst, the lung can collapse. An expert in minimally invasive operations, Dr. Beaudry used a high-definition surgical camera to carefully cut a tiny incision into Benjamin and remove the blebs before they could cause any more harm.

With some 11,000 surgeries happening every year at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, it’s one of the busiest surgical centres in Canada, and HD capability is crucial for surgeons to perform  minimally invasive operations, which make for less blood loss and faster recoveries. Mom says she was stunned by how fast Benjamin recovered from his surgery compared to her older son, Matthew, who had undergone surgery for the same condition back in England. She said their recovery times were like night and day.

Sometimes, even the best laid plans go awry. After a couple of weeks of healing at home, Benjamin’s lung decided it no longer wanted to cooperate and he was again admitted. It was Dec. 18 and his family wasn’t sure if they would have Benjamin at home for Christmas. Thanks again to the HD cameras and a minimally invasive surgery, Benjamin made it out just in time. His care team sprung him at 7:30 pm on Christmas Eve with a parting gift from Santa, and he’s been fine ever since.

Dad’s job has brought he family all over the world. Originally from England, they’ve lived in China, Australia, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Bahrain, New Orleans, Houston and Key West. Mom says they have never encountered a pediatric care centre quite like the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and she is forever grateful they were living here in Calgary at the time. They’re leaving again on a new adventure to Costa Rica but before they do they want to thank all of the staff who cared so deeply for their son when he needed them. “It genuinely feels like your child is the only one in hospital and everyone is focused on your child. It’s just so reassuring,” says mom.


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