February is Heart Month. Let's Make This One Special.

Published Monday, February 13, 2023

February is Heart Month. Let's Make This One Special.

Traveling for cardiovascular services isn’t just an inconvenience. It can change lives.

We’ve seen it already. Bringing angioplasty services including Cath Lab Suite equipment to Thunder Bay starting in 2007 meant that someone experiencing a heart attack could get into surgery within minutes. A medivac to Toronto or somewhere else meant at least hours of waiting – and sometimes longer. At best, that can mean longer recovery times (away from home) and the real possibility of never recovering to the same level. At worst, it can quickly become a life-or-death situation.

Vascular surgery is another great example. Northwestern Ontario saw the highest incidence of amputations in Ontario. Many of those amputations were due to disease such as diabetes and injury such as crushing injuries in car accidents. But now that we have vascular surgeons in Thunder Bay to repair vascular injury and provide preventative measures, a large percentage of those amputations can be avoided. That means a better quality of life – and often a longer life – for many of our patients.

So it is painfully clear why we need to bring more cardiovascular surgery options home to Thunder Bay. Travelling for care is still the reality for too many of our cardiovascular patients. We can’t be satisfied with having just some of these services here. We can’t accept that we can only help some patients. We need to make sure that we can help everyone except the very most complex cases. We deserve to have full cardiovascular surgical services right here in Thunder Bay.

And many of us are fighting to get it, including many of you reading this right now.

If you’re like most others in Thunder Bay and especially the region, you have experienced firsthand what it’s like to travel for healthcare, either personally or through loved ones. It can be frustrating, expensive, disruptive, and downright scary leaving home for healthcare. The good news is that we have a tremendous opportunity to change the story for thousands of families in Northwestern Ontario, right now.

Creating a brand new cardiovascular surgical program from the ground up takes equipment. It takes a team of medical specialists including surgeons, nurses, and other health professionals. It takes careful planning including pre- and post-surgery services, and changes within our existing Hospital to accommodate such a large program.

And, of course, it takes funding. That’s where we and the whole community can help.

Please, this Heart Month, give what you can to help bring more cardiovascular surgery services for the lives and health of our patients. COVID has pushed back plans, but we are gearing up once again – and we need your help. As of this writing, we need a Cardiovascular Cath Lab Suite most urgently to replace and upgrade ageing equipment. Your donation today to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation would get us that much closer to ensuring we have the best care available anywhere, right here at our own regional Hospital.

Thank you!




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