A prolonged search for details of a near fatal accident finally paid off in Campbell River recently, almost 70 years after I received emergency surgery and lengthy rehab in Lady of Lourdes Hospital there.
I was a 14-year-old logger at Menzies Bay camp in 1942. We were in the process of moving the donkey to a new setting and I was sent down the mountain to retreive the claw bar needed to remove guy line spikes from stumps. The wind was strong and a gust blew down a tree- which landed on me. I was pinned there, semiconscious, until a crew member found me and I was transported to Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Campbell River where a talented Dr. St. John saved my life. I had sustained broken ankles, spinal injury and many scrapes and bruises. Dr. St. John said that if the heavy rainfall hadn’t created a thick layer of mushy mud on ground surface, I’d have been killed instantly.
Another (unknowing) contributor to my survival was Adolph Hitler. He had ordered Storm Troopers to find and capture Dr. St. John in his native Austria. But the good Doctor escaped Europe and settled in Campbell River where his expertise was much in demand. I never forgot Dr. St. John, whose name was pronounced “Sinjin.”
My search for details of that long ago happening in Campbell River only ended last week when I spoke to staff in the current hospital. They advised me to visit the Museum at 5th and Old Island Highway. Which I did and had every question answered. I purchased two excellent photos. One of the beautiful Lady of Lourdes Hospital (before it was demolished) and the other of Dr. St. John.
Citizens of Campbell River, you have a great Museum staffed by talented people eager to help.