A Canadian COVID-19 Story - Graeme’s Story


Our small Canadian Equipment Service team ensures equipment failures do not prevent hospitals from providing vital diagnostic procedures in the CT, MR, CV, and PET modalities. When a team this size covers a geography as large as Canada, travelling is part of the job. However, at a time like this, travel brings some unique challenges and a new sense of pride in their important job. Just ask Graeme Boyd. Graeme is one of our Field Service Representatives from Montreal and he has kindly shared his story with us.

Three pieces of equipment in Western Canada required urgent repairs, while another two sites were awaiting equipment to bring new Diagnostic Imaging capabilities online. Graeme recently jumped into action to support Western Canada.

With a wife and a baby son, packing for his recent trip to Calgary was more challenging than usual as many things played on his mind. “Getting ready mentally over the weekend, watching too much news. Anxiety. Leaving home was an unusual feeling and it wasn’t because something bad was going to happen. Your mind races; paranoia and anxiety really sets in. Bringing this virus home with my 11-month-old son around is my biggest fear. Like many other critical workers, doing my day-to-day job puts my family at risk. My only protection in this is discipline and situational awareness,” he said. This discipline and situational awareness were drilled into Graeme as part of his training as an infantryman for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Graeme’s job would easily require him to fly over 100 times a year. However, he hadn’t been on a flight since Canada limited travel and he didn’t know what to expect. What caught Graeme by surprise was how eerily quiet the airport was. The upshot was that passing through security was a breeze. With all the shops shut, it meant he would not be able to grab a snack before the flight either. Once on the plane, the airline staff were wearing masks and explained that they were doing everything they could to keep everyone safe. There was a sense of camaraderie in the plane as people shared hand sanitizer and respected others personal space. This allowed him to settle in on the five-hour flight.

Once arriving in Calgary and collecting his rental car, Graeme took extra precautions to sanitize the keys and the car; feeling more aware of his surroundings than usual. When he arrived at the hospital, he changed out of his travelling shoes and into a different pair to keep the hospital environment better protected. Greeting him at the hospital door were three nurses in full PPE who questioned him about his travel and if he had any symptoms. As they took his temperature, Graeme felt a momentary bolt of anxiety. What would happen if it came back higher than usual? What would this mean to his family? His health? About getting the job done for the sites relying on him? That fear quickly sunk to the back of his mind as his temperature came back as normal. While in the hospital, he made sure to wipe down all surfaces and consider everything he touched and each person he interacted with. However, once in the suite, it was business as usual and on to the next job.

When Graeme finally returned home to his family, he went straight to the bathroom to shower and throw his clothes straight into the washing machine before disinfecting his suitcase and belongings. Keeping a distance from his wife and baby is obviously a very difficult task in this demanding role.

“My core job is the same, but there’s so much more to it now. I take a lot more pride in what I’m doing because I know what I do has a huge impact on people, but now it’s even greater because we are all in this together,” Graeme said. “The hospital staff are putting in long hours right now, some up to 12-hour days, and they are the heroes in this situation. I’m glad to be able to do a small part to support them and am thankful for what they are doing.”

“Our service teams are working as hard as ever to ensure customers are operational. With more phone conversations troubleshooting issues, the consideration taken by hospital staff to attempt to repair any issues themselves alleviates the need for any extra personnel visiting – I truly appreciate them going above and beyond. I want our customers to know that we are always here to help in any way we can,” Graeme said.

As a company, Bayer stands by Canadian healthcare professionals and send our gratitude to our Service Engineers and all the people doing their job in this time of different procedures and worry for our family and friends. Thank you for all that you are doing and to keep doing what you do so well.