It was the last Thursday of September 2013, and Poras Patel began to feel queasy. His heart was racing. He called his wife, Godha, in from the garden. She phoned Telehealth Ontario and after a short conversation with Poras about his symptoms, the nurse called an ambulance. He was taken to a community hospital where he was diagnosed as being in atrial fibrillation. They put him under to reset his heart rate and brought him to the Cardiac Care Unit. However, he would need further care: a triple bypass and an implant – a combination of pacemaker and defibrillator. He would need to go to St. Michael’s for expert care.
For Godha, the situation had an extra layer of concern: her first husband had died at the age of 43 following a quadruple bypass 31 years ago, leaving her a widow with a child to raise. Now her second husband needed major heart surgery. She was, naturally, anxious.
Six days after his initial episode, Poras was operated on by St. Michael’s heart surgeon Dr. Daniel Bonneau. The results were outstanding. “I received an excellent level of care,” recalls Poras. “My ribs weren’t even especially sore.” A short time after that, he had his implant. Poras then experienced a series of complications that prolonged his stay, due to fluid on his lungs and low oxygen, requiring him to come back to hospital from rehab. He went home December 4, just as Toronto experienced a major black out. They stayed with an aunt who still had power. He started outpatient rehab and had another setback which required further time in hospital. Finally, after a total of three and a half months in hospitals, he was home and well.
A retired accountant, Poras had dropped 40 pounds and was finally feeling better. He and Godha, formerly a medical researcher, could now turn once again to enjoying retirement, including family –children from their first marriages and one grandchild, collaborating on Sudoku, and enjoying trips to see musicals and the symphony downtown.
I received an excellent level of care. — Poras Patel
Poras had earlier experiences at St. Michael’s for eye care. He was operated on by both Dr. Trevor Chin Fook and Dr. Neeru Gupta for a corneal transplant and glaucoma. After their heart experience, they were moved to support the hospital. Poras remarks, “It was a way of giving back for exceptional care.” Godha adds, “St. Michael’s saved his life. They do amazing work. Staff members were so caring, providing the necessary specialized medical care and taking the time to talk to us. We’re so grateful!”