Your Impact - Donna Burt’s Story
"As a grateful patient, I say thank you
for your donations and support."
- Donna Burt

I heard my finger break that day when I fell in front of the dance studio where I had taken my grandkids. It hurt, of course, but what concerned me more than the pain was the question of who would take care of Joe while I healed.

Joe is a retired military man, a loving grandfather, and my wonderful husband of 37 years. He has suffered two strokes and has some other health challenges. He uses a wheelchair and needs my help to take care of even his most basic needs. He can’t even be left alone for more than a few hours at a time.

By thinking outside the box, HSC’s Dr. Leif Sigurdson
was able to reconstruct Donna Burt’s broken finger,
getting her back to her family sooner.

If it weren’t for Dr. Leif Sigurdson and the exceptional people at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg, my seemingly small injury, which the doctors called a traumatic injury, would have had big consequences for my family. 

And now, the HSC Foundation is raising funds for a new Plastic Surgery Clinic with a dedicated Procedure Room to help patients like me who need similar surgeries.

Most patients who need plastic surgery for traumatic hand injuries are scheduled in a general operating room, and then often bumped for more urgent matters. And when they do get in, procedures typically need general anaesthetic and a long recovery. With Joe’s needs at home, I couldn’t afford to wait and I couldn’t afford a long recovery. And, as a diabetic, I don’t bounce back from surgery the way others do. (And fasting before a surgery that can be cancelled for several days in a row can be dangerous for a diabetic.)

Dr. Sigurdson examines Donna Burt’s healing finger.
In my case, I was fortunate that Dr. Sigurdson was able to cobble together a temporary space for my procedure. Instead of putting me under, he gave me freezing and painlessly inserted the pin I needed in my finger. I was in and out of the hospital on the same day. But my case was the exception, not the rule.

I want everyone to have access to this type of treatment for hand injuries all the time. It should be the norm. Patients would have better outcomes and shorter stays, the hospital would save money, and the main operating rooms could be reserved for major surgeries.

That is why I am excited about the possibility of a new Plastic Surgery Procedure Room. Not only will it be used to treat patients with traumatic hand injuries, it will also help patients with skin cancer and severe burns, as well as breast cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery. Doctors will be able to deal with complicated cases more quickly and more effectively than ever before.

Joe and Donna Burt share a playful moment.
"If it weren't for Dr. Leif Sigurdson and the exceptional people
at Health Sciences Centre, my seemingly small injury
would have had big consequences for my family," says Donna.

I can’t imagine how Joe’s needs would have been met if I had to wait for a few weeks for surgery. A seemingly small injury could have had big consequences. I am so grateful to Dr. Sigurdson for what he was able to do for me. 

Please consider supporting the HSC Foundation now, so they can make this new Plastic Surgery Procedure Room a reality. Let’s make sure that Dr. Sigurdson and his colleagues have the tools and spaces they need to help more patients like me.
Donors like you make a big difference for health care in Manitoba!


Donna Burt