Robert and Birgit Bateman

Robert and Birgit Bateman, Salt Spring Island — We are both artists, naturalists, and retired high school art teachers as well as longstanding Salt Spring Island residents. When we first came together in 1973, we could never have imagined that Robert’s career as a high school art teacher could change so drastically and take such an upward turn. Today, we are honoured to share Robert’s art with everyone who visits the Bateman Centre in Victoria, BC. Through our charity organization, the Bateman Foundation, we aim to engage people with the beauty and excitement of nature through the lens of art. Research shows that spending time in nature has significant health benefits for the mind and body, and we encourage everyone to spend as much time outside as possible.

One’s own health is the most important thing in a person’s life. As part of our daily routine, we walk two kilometres everyday, rain or shine, taking in the beauty of Salt Spring Island and noticing the wildlife thriving all around us.

As donors, and our experience with Robert as a patient, we have seen the vital impact that up to date equipment has on care in our hospitals. In November of 2016, Robert suffered an aneurism on an artery to his liver and was transported by helicopter from Lady Minto Hospital (on Salt Spring Island) to Victoria General Hospital where he was treated by the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team. Robert was quickly losing a great deal of blood and time was of the essence. The ICU team used leading-edge equipment to quickly locate the aneurism and guide the surgery performed by vascular surgeon Dr. Shung Lee to put a dam in the artery that had the aneurism. We appreciated the exemplary knowledge and care that Dr. Lee and Emergency & Critical Care Department Head, Dr. Omar Ahmad showed while Robert was in the hospital.

After over a year of good health, in March of 2018 Robert began to cough up blood. Knowing that the situation was serious, Birgit called 911 and an ambulance transported Robert to the hospital. After being stabilized by Dr. David Butcher at Lady Minto Hospital, Robert was taken to Royal Jubilee Hospital for further treatment. Robert appeared to be stable and returned home but was subsequently brought back to Royal Jubilee Hospital after a haemorrhage. Dr. Lee and Dr. Darren Biberdorf performed a 6-hour long operation to sheath the aneurism to the liver and repair the duodenum wall. Robert recovered in the hospital for a month and we were delighted when he was able to return home in late April. We both felt that everyone did their very best for Robert and had complete confidence in the hospital staff.

What Robert had was unusual, but you too may experience something so unusual that you’ll be grateful to be in one of our hospitals where the decisions, attention, and knowledge are superb. Thanks to the excellent care of the Island Health team, Robert is back at the easel panting and we are going for walks again every day.

It is important that everyone plays a helpful role in advancing care as we will all need it sooner or later. If every person donated however much they are able to, it would make a huge difference to the equipment and resources available in our hospitals. We hope you will consider supporting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s efforts to raise the funds necessary to improve the equipment. You are vital.

With gratitude,

Robert and Birgit Bateman