Ryan Gillies, here with three-year-old son Seth, suffered a heart attack last Friday. He had to wait four days to get a stent in Edmonton, a situation that must change, he says. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Red Deer man says more cardiac care needed here

Ryan Gillies spent several extra days in hospital waiting to get a stent in Edmonton

It took an Edmonton doctor minutes to insert a stent into one of Ryan Gillies’ arteries.

Getting to that point, took almost four days.

Gillies’ unwelcome introduction to the gaps in Central Alberta health care began last Friday when a general discomfort similar to indigestion gave way to pain in his arm and a trip to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s emergency unit.

Within minutes, he was whisked away and put into an intensive care bed and diagnosed with a heart attack. He would not leave Red Deer until Tuesday, when he was taken to Royal Alexandra Hospital to have the stent inserted.

Gillies said there has got to be a better way.

“When you to get (stent insertion) done it’s a 20-minute procedure,” said the Red Deer father-of-four.

While being cared for he heard stories from ambulance workers and Edmonton hospital staff about unsustainable workloads.

“If it’s that taxing on the staff why not open up a place in Red Deer to alleviate some of the pressure on those people?” he said.

Four others needing the same procedure were in Red Deer’s hospital with him last weekend, all taking up expensive hospital beds, waiting to be taken to Edmonton or Calgary.

“Four days I’m occupying that (intensive care unit) bed. I didn’t need to be in that bed.”

Gillies said being stuck in a bed in Red Deer for days was frustrating. His sleep was constantly interrupted as blood samples were drawn and other things checked.

“They probably would have done (the stent) if they had it in Red Deer that (Friday) evening,” he said. “I could have been home, probably, Sunday.

“Two days more of recovery time. Two days more to spend with my children.”

Central Alberta’s medical community is well aware of the region’s shortcomings. Local medical professionals have called on the province to develop comprehensive echocardiography, cardiac catheterization and angioplasty services in Red Deer’s hospital.

In 2016, local doctors reported that not being able to treat blocked arteries locally, and the long transfer times for the treatment elsewhere, mean Central Albertans have a 60 per cent higher rate of death or disability than people in Calgary or Edmonton.

After start-up costs, it would not cost any more to treat patients in Red Deer than it does in Calgary and Edmonton, and it would save on transportation costs, health care professionals argue.

Related: Unfair treatment

Hospital expansion

Gillies, 44, also believes the money that was spent keeping him in bed for Red Deer for extra days would be offset by the savings of having the treatment available locally.

“I’m pretty sure they could pay for it in no time,” said the construction consultant with a pipeline company.

Gillies’ wife, Erin, said since their scare they have heard from many people, directly or through Facebook, who have had similar experiences.

“Story upon story upon story. ‘This happened to my mum, this happened to my grandma …’

Nursing friends have also told her how overloaded Red Deer’s hospital is.

Both Gillies hope that by sharing their story the decision-makers will be convinced of the local need for more cardiac services.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Child’s play at Westerner Days

Balloons bring out the child in everyone

‘Do Indians have property rights?’ Former Alberta chief’s land dispute in court

STANDOFF, Alta. — A dispute between two families over land on Canada’s… Continue reading

Missing female found near Sundre

Local rancher finds missing female

Buyers turn to letters to snag homes in Canada’s hot real estate markets

TORONTO — Monica Martins and her husband had been looking for a… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Second World War Two-era B-29 Superfortress named ‘Fifi’ lands for first-ever Canadian tour

MONTREAL — A rare Second World War-era bomber named “Fifi” has touched… Continue reading

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15 of Tour de France

CARCASSONNE, France — Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark sprinted away from two… Continue reading

Ryan Reynolds teases ‘Deadpool 2’ extended cut at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Reynolds has made a triumphant return to San… Continue reading

‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam!” thrill Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Warner Bros. brought out all the stops Saturday at… Continue reading

All shell, no shock: Lobster prices strong, season picks up

PORTLAND, Maine — New England’s lobster industry faces big new challenges in… Continue reading

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month