Dr. Hayley Bos:
Co-Chief of Staff, Victoria General Hospital; Medical Director for Maternity, Island Health; patient, wife, mother, martial artist, human
I’ve delivered about 20,000 babies, many of them over the last 12 years in Victoria. It was through my experience of having children—all three being high-risk pregnancies—that led me to want to focus on maternal-fetal medicine. I was still in training and ended up being admitted to hospital for months with all three of them. My son, my second child, had a condition called “craniosynostosis,” which is where the bones in a baby’s head fuse together too soon. We still lived in Ontario and at seven months old his doctors took the pieces of his skull off and almost played Humpty Dumpty with his head, putting them back together so his brain could grow normally. He’s 15 now and is perfectly healthy.
Performing ultrasounds, particularly fetal echocardiograms, is something I do often throughout my week. I can see the fetal anatomy on a heart that’s smaller than a quarter, which is pretty cool.
It brings me great joy to support bringing life into the world. I like helping people through difficult pregnancies, not because they can always change what the outcome is going to be, but to help them understand what their options are and to provide realistic expectations and comfort. Because I’ve been there.
“It was through my experience of having children—all three being high-risk pregnancies—that led me to want to focus on maternal-fetal medicine.”
“I love the “Caring Spirit Awards,” supported by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. It goes so far for morale knowing that the community is supporting us. It’s hard to describe how much that means to our hospital staff, but it’s huge.”
To be frank, I’m a bit of a walking disaster when it comes to my health. I didn’t go into medicine knowing I would fall apart physically. Medical imaging is the gateway to the human body, and in my own healthcare journey it has empowered my care teams to do the right things for the right reasons.
In 2014, I was diagnosed with a rare condition called “Ehlers-Danlos,” following a hysterectomy. Essentially, my tissues don’t heal properly and my joints are really loose. It has meant I’ve dislocated my shoulders, knees, and ankles. It’s also lead to some very complex medical issues.
A couple of years after that diagnosis, MRI revealed an “aortic aneurysm,” which is a large bulge in the wall of my body’s main artery. I was admitted to the ICU at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Using a precise scan of my heart and arteries, my care teams opted to monitor the aneurysm through ultrasound every two years, rather than operate.
Several years later, a CT scan with IV contrast revealed a mass on my right kidney. Surgery was promptly set to remove my kidney in May of 2020 at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Thankfully, the tumour was benign, and I now rely upon MRI to monitor both my aneurysm and kidney.
As a care provider and a patient, I believe imaging is as close to a crystal ball as we’ll ever have in medicine. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the access to powerful imaging tools right here on the Island.
I’m so grateful to my colleagues, who craft care plans for me so I can return to my family and the work I love after every medical bump in the road. When I’m admitted to Victoria General Hospital, I always feel a little bit like I’m on that TV show, “Undercover Boss.” When I come to the Royal Jubilee, nobody knows me and still everyone tries to humanize the process and make sure you feel safe and secure. That’s what a patient needs in recovery.
Also, warm blankets! The nurses and porters have these secret stashes of heaters around the hospital filled with blankets that are right-out-of-the-dryer warm. It’s such a lovely touch.
Because of my experience as a patient, I try to really thank the nurses, doctors, porters, and every other caregiver I encounter. I love the “Caring Spirit Awards,” supported by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. It goes so far for morale knowing that the community is supporting us. It’s hard to describe how much that means to our hospital staff, but it’s huge. It’s so huge. People don’t get thanked enough for the good they do. There’s so much good happening in our hospitals and making sure people know that they’re having a positive impact is important.
I’m training for my black belt in karate. I just got my brown belt in June. My kids sparked my interest in this sport. My oldest, Anika, is 18 and she just started first year nursing at Camosun. Pieter’s 15 and the youngest is Ericka, who is 13.
My health issues made obtaining my brown belt really hard. In the middle of the pandemic, I slipped a disc in my back, causing my foot to go numb. I still can’t actually feel my left foot because of the nerve damage. I had to relearn all of my routines in karate before progressing from blue belt to brown.
I also enjoy going to paintball with my kids. It is way more fun than I expected and surprisingly family-friendly. The guys are good about being with the kids and involving them in the planning, as we play “Capture the Flag,” which is a team game. When there are kids on the team, they really give them a chance to be leaders.
I also enjoy shooting archery, and in the summer, I love biking to work. Being active with my family is just so important to me.
“In the middle of the pandemic, I slipped a disc in my back, causing my foot to go numb. I still can’t actually feel my left foot because of the nerve damage. I had to relearn all of my routines in karate before progressing from blue belt to brown.”
They are humans first, who put other humans first.
More than 7,900 caregivers and staff work around the clock at Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, and Gorge Road hospitals.
#HumansFirst is dedicated to sharing the stories from behind our hospitals’ frontlines. These stories remind us that those who provide care and keep the lights on in our hospitals also have lives outside of them. They have family and friends, they enjoy hobbies and interests, and they have all lived through their own personal triumphs and heartbreaks. Like all of us, they are human, and they have a story to tell.