By Markus Noé: After 40 years of dedicated service at the Cornwall General Hospital, Denis Legros partially retired this week. An Orthopedic Technician, Legros got his start at the hospital as an orderly while in his mid teens. He was noticed by staff while taking care of his father who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis.
Legros reminisces, recalling the day he was hired to work at the hospital, “I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was feeding my father his dinner, when the nursing supervisor Betty Atkinson, stopped at the end of the bed and said, ‘Young lad, do you want to get paid to do that work?’ I replied, ‘Get paid to feed my father?’ She then answered, ‘No, to work here.” Legros was then escorted by Betty Atkinson down to the personal department and was hired on the spot.
At the age of 16, Legros was already making well above the minimum wage of the time taking home $1.85 an hour. Legros moved up the ladder quickly. One year after he started as an orderly, Dr. J.D. Macauley, a pathologist, was looking for assistance in the morgue. Legros recalls a conversation with Macauley, “He told me, I will give you $20.00, whether you can tough it out or not.”
Legros also held the position as ambulance attendant before starting his longest held position as Orthopedic Technician, which he began in the mid 80’s. While reflecting on his past supervisors, he said, “I was very lucky to be trained by Dr. Paul Robert, Dr. J.P. Laflèche, and Dr. Dany Tombler.”
During clinic hours, Legros is kept very busy with various tasks, as he explained, “I assist the doctors with minor surgical procedures, assist with reduction of fractures and do casting, splinting and immobilizations of patients. I also do a lot of teaching regarding patient care, to patients and family members.”
When asked if there was a single moment from his career that he would never forget, Legros replied, “It would be the sense of loss I felt when the Emergency Department, at the General Hospital transferred to the Hotel Dieu site. Although I knew the amalgamation was for the best, it was the hardest time of my years here. Overnight, I went from working with a staff of 45 to a staff of 2! I had created such close bonds, while working with a great bunch of nurses, emergency doctors, secretaries and support staff.”
At the age of 55, Legros has decided to work on a casual basis and pass on his “casting shears” to someone younger. With the spare time that Legros now has, he will continue his work with the Knights of Columbus. In the past five years he has helped raise $10,000 for the Hospital Foundation.
Legros acknowledged many people in his success when he said, “I have been blessed in many ways during my lifetime employment, by a supportive wife and family, good health and great managerial support.”
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