Former patient became a volunteer to give back to the hospital

News article, written for The Ottawa Hospital Journal in 2013.

Garth Griffiths was hospitalized in 2009 with severe complications from an H1N1 infection. Now, he volunteers in the family lounge at the Civic Campus Intensive Care Unit – helping people like his own family, who waited every day hoping to hear that his condition was improving. They had ample reason to worry.

“I was put into an induced coma,” Griffiths said. “While I was asleep, my kidneys failed and I developed a blood disorder. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember anything, not even my hospital admission. I stayed in the ICU at the General Campus for another six weeks recovering from all the complications.”

He was discharged from rehabilitation on Christmas Eve, though he continued to visit the Civic Campus regularly for followup appointments until Sept. 2012, a full three years later.

“After going through that massive event, I needed to do something,” he said. In 2011, he ran the half-marathon in the Ottawa Race Weekend and raised more than $8,000 for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. But that wasn’t enough, so he began volunteering last January.

“The volunteers in the ICU family lounge helped my family through the horrors of being there,” he said. “Now people come to me in distress and I try to listen. This is a way of giving back.”

Photo cutline: After being an ICU patient, Garth Griffiths volunteers at the Civic Campus ICU family lounge on Sunday mornings. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “The four hours fly by.”