Thunder Bay-Raised Vascular Surgeon Saving Lives and Limbs

Published Monday, March 8, 2021

Thunder Bay-Raised Vascular Surgeon Saving Lives and Limbs

Vascular surgeons like Dr. Matthew Ingves are essential when it comes to properly repairing arteries and circulation, especially after trauma. Donations are vital to keep our surgical program operating. Please give generously at or call (807) 345-4673.

Closer-to-home care is always the goal at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. But not that long ago, anyone who needed vascular surgery had to be flown out of the region.

Emergency situations were the most dangerous. A general or trauma surgeon would stabilize the patient – which for the most part meant stopping excessive blood loss – for the long flight to Toronto or elsewhere for vascular surgery. It wasn’t ideal, but it was the best care we had at the time.

Thanks to our generous donors, today patients can get the vascular surgery they need right here literally saving lives and limbs.

Dr. Matthew Ingves, one of three vascular surgeons at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, remembers those days. Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Dr. Ingves left for medical school and then surgical training before coming home.

“Today, we can manage most vascular surgeries here,” Dr. Ingves said. “There will always be some procedures in which it just makes sense to centralize services in the province. But for the most part, we’ve eliminated the need for travel.”

That’s particularly important for trauma patients when every moment counts. Deep penetrating wounds, high-speed accidents, and crushing incidents can injure or even sever arteries. It takes the extra training of a vascular surgeon to properly repair blood vessels and circulation. 

“Even a penetrating injury to your upper arm can be dangerous,” Dr. Ingves said. “Controlling the bleeding is the first step. Excessive blood loss can be life-threatening. But ultimately, the artery needs to be repaired as well to maintain proper circulation to the hand and arm, for example.”

An arm injury is just one of many different traumatic events. Vascular surgeons repair any injury that involves blood vessels, anywhere in the body. “Often when there is a major vessel injury, it can be a deep injury,” he said. “That adds to the potential severity.”

Time is crucial in these situations. Being able to treat patients in Thunder Bay instead of flying patients to a vascular surgeon a thousand kilometres away improves outcomes for patients. Not only can they can get the same expert care here faster, they can get it closer to home where they have the support of their family and friends.

The vascular surgery program at our Hospital comes in large part thanks to generous donors across Northwestern Ontario. With their help, we now have 24/7 emergency vascular surgical services available.

You can help, too. As with any surgical program, vascular surgery can only thrive with ongoing support. Your donation today will ensure our vascular surgeons including Dr. Ingves have the latest tools, equipment, and instruments they need to give the best care possible. Please support life-and-limb-saving vascular surgery today at or by calling (807) 345-4673.


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