Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Go with Grace

On December 19, 2014, my father, Art Magill, passed away.  I lost my confidante, my advisor, one of my biggest supporters and someone I admired very much. You may be wondering what that has to do with Vancouver history and I'll tell you. Dad was born here, at Grace Hospital.

In January of 1927, the cornerstone of the future Grace Hospital was laid. On October 2, 1927, the hospital was officially opened. It had 50 beds and bassinets.

In 1943, Grace Hospital delivered over a thousand children. 1,117 in total.

The first set of triplets was born at Grace Hospital in 1957 and three years later, the hospital reached 50,000 births. During its fiftieth anniversary in 1977, Grace Hospital reached 100,000 births.

On April 2, 1982, Grace Hospital became the first hospital in Canada to have midwives offering care.
In 1987, the hospital established itself as the busiest maternity hospital in Canada with 8,235 births.
The Grace Hospital Foundation was formed in 1989.

Health Minister Elizabeth Cull, Premier Mike Harcourt, and Mayor Gordon Campbell opened the "Centre for Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment" at Grace Hospital in 1992. This centre became a one stop service for prenatal care.

In April of that year, the Women's Health Care Centre was opened as part of the University hospital - Shaughnessy Site.

In April of 1993, the NeoNatal Care Nursery opened. It provided incubator/bassinet space for 10 premature, underweight and/or infected babies. This service was used by more than 1,100 babies a year.

The University - Shaughnessy Site closure was announced in February of 1993. Grace Hospital continued though, reaching 200,000 births on August 27.

In February of 1994, the Salvation Army handed over responsibility of the hospital to the B.C. government. Now it is known at the BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre.

There is more milestones the hospital achieved, and is still achieving, but it is no longer Grace Hospital and that's what I was writing on today.

My father was born on Good Friday. My grandmother said she woke in the hospital with the sun shining and the birds singing. She thought she had died and gone to heaven! Then she saw my father and not long after that, World War II broke out. Okay, I always added the last sentence not her but it sounds good. LOL

Dad will be missed not only by me but by all those whose lives he touched. He had a good heart and was always willing to help others. There were times his generosity was taken advantage of but that didn't stop him from reaching out to the next person in need.

He taught us - my two brothers and me - to be strong. To face life's challenges with humour and determination. I know he was proud of me following my dreams after multiple sclerosis took me out of the workforce and he enjoyed reading my books. He was supportive in everything I tried to do. And when my plans didn't work out as planned, he encouraged me to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again.

During the last few years when he was in ill health, my dad kept his sense of humour and flirted with the ladies. (He was Irish, you know!)  Dad brightened the atmosphere of any hospital room he was in as well as the old age home where he spent his last few months.   Although I miss him, I am happy he is now out of the pain he has been in for years and that he has discovered what comes after this existence. Daddy, you will always be an important part of me. I love you.

Karen Magill 
If you aren't six feet under, then you are on the right side and anything is possible.
Twitter: @KarenMagill  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reprinting this blog entry. It means a lot to me.