Medical system does work when you need it

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

On the night of August 30/31, my husband Al, who has always been active and healthy, had severe groin and back pain.

We called 911 at about midnight and within 10 minutes two paramedics arrived from Agassiz. Shortly after that an Advanced Life Support team arrived. They took him to Chilliwack General Hospital and by the time I arrived at the hospital the ER team in Chilliwack had done an ultrasound, found something, and were preparing to follow-up with a CT Scan.

The rest of the ER team were on the phone locating a hospital that could put together a surgical team to try to save my husband’s life. He was suffering an abdominal aortic aneurysm (the silent killer).

Abbotsford was our next destination. He was given less than a 50 per cent chance of surviving the trip to Abbotsford, as the artery had started dissecting but he did survive and was immediately taken into surgery (just before 3 a.m.).

At that point the nurses told me he had a 50/50 chance of making it through the surgery. This wonderful surgical team lead by Dr. Lewis and Dr. Fry were able to do an EVAR to repair the artery, and shortly after 7:00 a.m. Al was in ICU.  We were warned that he was not out of the woods yet as the next 24 to 48 hours were critical. Within 36 hours Al was moved from ICU to high acuity and then 48 hours later from high acuity to post surgical. He was released from hospital on Wednesday, September 7 and is expected to make a full recovery.

I have never had much good to say about our medical system with long waits in emergency and friends waiting months and months for specialty tests but after this experience I can only praise this system because in an extreme emergency it is there for us.

I also would like to say a big thank you to the Agassiz paramedics, the advanced life support paramedics, all the Chilliwack ER staff, the Abbottsford ER staff, Dr. Lewis, Dr. Fry and their surgical team, the ICU, high acuity and post surgical nurses that took such good care of Al during his seven day stay in Abbotsford Hospital.

Sandi Cassidy

Harrison Hot Springs, BC