Full circle healthcare at John Fawkner Private Hospital

For Patrick Taverna walking back onto the grounds of John Fawkner Private Hospital earlier this year as the Site Manager of the hospital’s redevelopment project, was a true sliding doors moment.

Four years ago Patrick had walked into the same hospital, not in his professional capacity but as an oncology patient.

“It’s fair to say that a diagnosis of stage 4 bowel cancer, which had spread to my liver, was not the 38th birthday surprise that I had been expecting,” explains Patrick.

The young father was admitted into John Fawkner Private Hospital to undergo a combination of chemotherapy by his treating oncologist Dr Walter Cosolo, and surgery to remove the remaining tumors present in his body.

“It’s certainly confronting walking into the unknown, I couldn’t understand or comprehend what was happening. The thought of looking even a month into my future was pretty scary, but I knew that I would give it the best fight, especially for my family,” said Patrick.

Fight he did and in 2014 Patrick was both surprised and overjoyed by the news that scans revealed there was no evidence of the disease in his body.

“What was strange coming back to John Fawkner Private Hospital as the Site Manager was that it did feel different to being a patient, and it also didn’t.

“I had spent so long in the hospital that the amazing team had felt like family, they had cared for me, known my kids name and were thrilled with the news that I have only recently become a father again, with our third child.

“This time I was coming in to help bring new life to the old hospital that has provided so much care and support over the last 77 years,” said Patrick.

Walking into the level two oncology ward was an experience as the first person Patrick saw was the nurse who administered him with chemotherapy for the very first time.

“I walked up to her and said, this takes me back to ANZAC Day 2013, where you were the first person to introduce me to chemo”. She remembered me and couldn’t believe that in a relatively short time, I was back here and part of the redevelopment team,” explained Patrick.

For Patrick the full circle experience at John Fawkner Private Hospital has made him proud. Proud that he fought the disease and now can give back to the hospital.

“I am a family man. Both my wife and children have watched me through this whole process, standing by my side, coming here to the hospital. Now they can come back and see what we are doing, to ensure the hospital can continue to provide quality healthcare, like they did for me, for many years to come,” said Patrick.

Patrick agrees that his life has certainly changed since his diagnosis.

“Throughout my journey and after my all clear I knew that I wanted to get back to work. The opportunity came from my employer Cockram Constructions to take on the Site Manager role, and I couldn’t miss that, the opportunity to go full circle,” explains Patrick.