“I’m a patient. I’m scared, desperate and in pain. I expect the system to understand that.”

It was a simple injury and not uncommon.

But when Pierre Alvarez slipped on the ice in his backyard, he was thrust into a healthcare journey that was anything but simple or common.

The fall left Alvarez, at the time a mid-50s senior executive and family man with a passion for the outdoors, with a severed left patellar tendon.

Alvarez received excellent care from the paramedics that came out to treat him, the Canmore hospital staff that assessed him and the surgery ward at the Rockyview hospital. But the quality of service took a turn for the worse when his knee refused to heal.

“Over the following weeks… things began to fall apart,” he recalls.

Mobility didn’t return. The pain didn’t recede.

“I was told to try harder at physio and take more Advil. So, I did.”

When things went from bad to worse, he was told to try harder still.

He was in an out of the emergency room with unbearable pain. His was suffering atrophy and bone loss.

Depression set in, sleep became illusive and he lost 35 lbs. The fabric of his life and family began to unravel.

Alvarez was ready to give up. And that’s when he took charge.