Grateful Patient: The Ferras Family – Critical Care Unit

“Love forever, Mom.”Janet Ferras

It’s the message Janet Ferras wrote the many times she sent a card or note to any of her seven children. Janet’s 17 grandchildren always received the message, “Love you more” from their Nona.

The Ferras’ are a close knit family, with clear and strong parental leadership from both Janet and her husband, Albert.

Janet had a cough that persisted for 5 years, progressively causing shortness of breath and slowing down the otherwise robust 75-year-old. After several visits to the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) emergency department in February 2014, Janet was admitted to the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at the BCHS with the diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis — a disease that results in a stiffening of the lungs.

She was a strong, selfless woman, who did not want to come in, but in her heart, I think she knew she had to,” said Patti Ferras, the middle child of the seven siblings.

“Our BCHS physician said that while there is no course of treatment, they can help make her comfortable,” Patti said.

The 15-bed CCU provides a holistic approach to care, while utilizing specialized, state-of-the-art technology for patients with life-threatening organ failure.

Patti said everyone knew their job and went above and beyond in caring for her mom and being a resource of information and counselling for her family.

“BCHS staff identified immediately that we’re not a regular family,” she said, adding that at all times, there was one or more of Janet’s family members at her bed side.

Patti was impressed with the family-centered care she experienced in the CCU commenting that the medical team invited family to participate in the care of their loved ones.

The specialized team of nurses and doctors explained in detail with the Ferras family what was happening with Janet, and included them in deciding how to proceed.

They explained that the bi-pap (bi-level positive air pressure) machine was helping their mother breathe by pushing air into her lungs. Although the mask made it difficult for Janet to talk, it was making it easier for her to breathe.

After one week, Janet’s condition worsened and she was transitioned to the support of a ventilator, which supplemented her own limited breathing and took over when she couldn’t do it on her own.

It was very difficult for the family to see their mother fighting so hard, but the care, compassion and respect for Janet from the CCU staff, was comforting for the family.

“The BCHS medical staff are a special kind of people to be doing this,” said Patti.

The morning of May 5, with her family still at her side, she passed away peacefully.

While the large Ferras family is still mourning the loss of its matriarch, several of them wanted to share their BCHS experience and their appreciation for the care and compassion during one of life’s most difficult moments.

Patti said her mother taught her to give back to her community and that’s what she intends to do.

“I want to give back to the BCHS because they were so good to her.”

The Ferras’ story is a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.

The equipment supported by donor dollars isn’t all ‘nice to have’ — it is critical, much-needed medical equipment required to perform daily diagnostics and care for patients.

As the Ferras family knows, when crisis or illness impacts you or a loved one, the Brant Community Healthcare System is here to offer you exceptional healthcare in your time of need. Now is the time to make a difference, please consider making a gift TODAY that is meaningful to you, and support a strong healthcare system for our community.

Your involvement, through a donation of any size, will allow the BCHS Foundation to purchase patient equipment not funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provide essential resources to maintain the exceptional level of compassionate patient care, and invest in new and innovative technology.

To make a donation, click here or call 519-751-5510. This holiday season, give a gift and be a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.