Pat Toland

On December 1, 2023, I was working from home. I had just finished a work call and went to grab a cup of tea. I felt a compressed feeling in my chest which then radiated to my upper back and shoulders becoming a severe pain. I began to sweat profusely. I knew I was having a heart attack. My husband called 911. The fire department and paramedics were at my home in less than 5 minutes. I was at the Nanaimo emergency room quickly. I had a STEMI heart attack with 100% blockage on the right side of my heart. I was given the only drug treatment available at the hospital to attempt to open the clot-blocked artery attempting to stabilize me for transport to Victoria. In my case I was lucky and the drugs partially worked. Once at Vic Jubilee, I had the first of two angioplasties. Two stents on the right side. Six weeks later two more stents on the left side of my heart with additional blockages we are now keeping an eye on. I will live with heart muscle damage and reduced life expectancy not because I didn’t have good care but because I wasn’t able to receive the care I needed (cath lab and angioplasty within 90 minutes of the heart attack) in the narrow window of time that we heart failure patients have to maximize our chances of recovery and improved outcomes. I am a 58-year-old female and know how lucky I was. If we had a cardiac cath lab in Nanaimo it would be life-saving.