Stabbed in the Heart by a Stranger: 21-year-old man wins the fight for his life
Bjorn Morris had just moved into a new apartment in Vancouver this past May when an otherwise ordinary evening took a shocking and terrible turn that left the 21-year-old fighting for his life.
This story was published by The Vancouver Sun online and in the print edition of Saturday’s December 1st newspaper. Written by G. Marion Johnson.
A native of Nelson, British Columbia, Morris and his roommate had headed downtown to celebrate their new home. While walking down the street, Morris and a female passerby exchanged a few words in a bizarre confrontation. Morris and his pal continued on their way, and then it happened: the woman came at him from behind and stabbed him with what police say was a knife. The blade went straight through his sternum and into his heart.
“It’s weird — I don’t remember being stabbed; it felt like more being hit in the chest,” Morris says. “But there was a lot of blood.”
Morris’s friend called 911 immediately. An ambulance transported the young man to the emergency department at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), where he suffered cardiac arrest. When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause death or permanent brain damage within four to six minutes, according to the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. Less than 10 per cent of victims live through such an event.
For several hours, a team of doctors at VGH worked tirelessly to save Morris’s life, executing complex surgery and care. They stopped the bleeding and got his heart going again, but his ordeal was far from over.
Following the operation, Morris was taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit, where another team of specialists monitored blood flow to and oxygen in his brain, looking for any signs of cognitive impairment.
Fortunately, Morris didn’t sustain brain damage as a result of the horrifying incident. He doesn’t recall much about his time in hospital, except for seeing concerned family members upon waking up.
“I do remember feeling surprised to see my brother and my dad, who were living in Australia,” Morris says. “I also remember feeling panicked because I was unable to talk and in immense pain.”
Despite ending up in such a scary situation, everything that could have gone right for Morris in the aftermath did.
“He’s very, very lucky to be alive,” says Dr. Garraway. “He survived because of a combination of factors: the paramedics quickly getting him to the right hospital, where there’s a trauma team and surgeon, and from there all of the skills and technology in the ICU to take care of him after the surgery.”
Morris recently went to VGH to thank all of the health professionals who saved his life.
“The experience was awfully painful for me, but the care I received was great,” he says. “If it wasn’t for the staff there, I wouldn’t be alive.
“I definitely have a greater appreciation for my family and loved ones,” Morris adds. “The people at VGH are absolutely amazing. It’s absolutely incredible what they did.”
Every year, VGH performs more than 30,000 surgeries and handles more than 600,000 patient visits. It treats 60 per cent of B.C.’s adult trauma cases, while 50 per cent of its surgical patients are from outside Vancouver.
Indeed, for anyone facing a serious injury or illness, VGH, along with UBC Hospital and GF Strong Rehab Centre, offers the best chance for recovery. Together, all three health centres deliver the province’s best and most specialized adult care. They’re equipped to address almost every possible health condition and are acclaimed for breakthrough treatments and exceptional care.
The life-saving care that these hospitals deliver would not be possible without the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, which helps raise essential funds over and above government funding.
Now is the time to support the Foundation — and the life-saving work these medical centres do — through the 2017 Millionaire Lottery. As Morris can attest, you never know when you or a loved one might need urgent, critical medical care.
And while the cause is vital, it’s also fantastically fun to win.
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Tickets are 1 for $100, 2 for $175, 3 for $250, or 8 for $500. They’re available at all London Drugs locations, by calling 604-602-5848 or 1-888-445-5825, or online at MillionaireLottery.com.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery.
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