Carolyn Thomas recalls how Dr. Manjeet Mann, in his charming way, held her hands and told her she was having a heart attack.
“He has a lovely calming and quiet way about him and he took my hand in both of his own… he said to me he could tell by my test results I had significant heart disease,” Thomas says. “I was so overwhelmed and so shocked and stunned.”
She asked him: “Are you saying that I’m going to have a heart attack? He said ‘I’m saying you’re having a heart attack right now’.”
It was 2008 when she had the telltale signs of nausea, sweating and left arm pain for days, but didn’t want to ruin her mother’s 80th birthday. So once she flew back to Victoria from Ottawa, she headed straight for emergency and quickly met cardiologist Dr. Mann, executive medical director for Heart Health, Island Health.
He was one of two doctors who helped her that day, May 6, 2008. Both were on hand at Royal Jubilee Hospital to launch the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s 2017 fall campaign, In a Heartbeat: Everyday Miracles.
“One of the reasons I’m so happy to be here and to support this community campaign to raise money for cardiac equipment is because I know we have a world-class team of cardiologists, cardiac nurses, the techs involved. This is a world class team and they deserve a world class facility,” Thomas said.
The cardiac campaign targets $3.2 million to purchase 34 pieces of leading-edge equipment for seven areas of cardiac care.
“For the past 30 years, Royal Jubilee Hospital has been a national leader in cardiac care and home to Vancouver Island’s Heart Health Centre of Excellence,” said Bruce Dyck, board chair, Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “The equipment that will be purchased through this campaign will make sure the cardiac team has the best tools possible so they can quickly provide precise diagnosis and life-saving care. Royal Jubilee is a referral centre for cardiac care and thousands of patients throughout Vancouver Island and British Columbia will benefit from this equipment for years to come.”
The funding includes a new $1.7 million heart catheterization laboratory C-arm for Royal Jubilee Hospital; cardiac short stay unit renovation, an echocardiogram reporting system; telemetry system; echocardiogram ultrasound; cardiac rhythm monitor; 10 electrocardiogram machines, two heart bypass heater units; 10 recliner chairs and five patient stretchers. The campaign for cardiac care continues through to February 2018 with the Foundation telling the stories of the Heart Health team and the patients they serve.
Thomas is among the more than 200,000 patients the Heart Health team assesses every year. Annually, about 6,300 cardiac procedures are performed at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals. These include open-heart surgeries, angiograms and angioplasties, electrophysiology procedures and cardiac device insertions. The equipment that will be purchased through this campaign will: increase capacity and efficiency so medical teams can provide more critical procedures and better access for patients; allow caregivers to have higher-definition images for quicker and more precise diagnosis; reduce radiation exposure for both patients and caregivers; and allow for emergency diagnosis and treatment of patients even if they are at a remote hospital.
“My team and I rely on this equipment to perform procedures that save lives. I cannot say enough how inspiring it is for us all to know we have the support of our community to help fund equipment that allows us to do this complex and delicate work,” said Dr. Anthony Della Siega, another of the cardiologists who helped Thomas.
Contribute online at victoriahf.ca, call 250-519-1750 or mail a donation to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria BC, V8R 1J8.
Learn more about In a Heartbeat: Everyday Miracles and read stories from former patients at www.victoriahf/inaheartbeat.
“In their continual drive to bring patients the best care possible our cardiac team has become an incubator for innovation, working every day for breakthroughs that continually elevate standards of cardiac care in our community,” said Mann. “The doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators who work at RJH form a nimble and responsive team and provide care that wraps around the patient and is tailored to each person’s specific care needs. Each day they work in sync to create everyday miracles so patients can go home to their families sooner.”