Lab saving lives at all hours

November 26, 2021 BY

Survivor: Brad Warren and his wife Sheridan are forever grateful for the lifesaving treatment he received at Bendigo Health’s cardiac catheterisation lab. Photo: KATIE MARTIN

BRAD Warren was hoping to welcome patrons back to the White Horse Hotel on Halloween night.

Instead, the pub owner suffered a severe heart attack that stopped his pulse for over 20 minutes.

“I thought what was just indigestion and a bit of chest pain very quickly turned into something else,” he said. “I felt a compression on my chest and burst into sweat and then that was it.”

Within minutes he was in the back of an ambulance being rushed to Bendigo Hospital’s emergency department.

The father of two was fighting for his life.

He was taken to the cardiac catheterisation lab, where doctors are on call to save lives at any minute of every day.

“The patient won’t even be transferred from the ambulance trolley to a hospital trolley, they’ll be going from the ambulance trolley straight into the operating theatre,” said Dr Voltaire Nadurata, head of cardiology at Bendigo Health.

“The plan is to open up the artery within an hour.

“Our performance with that kind of service is beautiful. The numbers are really great compared to other major hospitals in Melbourne.”

The cath lab treats more than 200 severe heart attack patients a year and over 90 per cent of them meet the one-hour operating mark.

About two thirds of people arriving to the hospital by helicopter need the lab’s care.

“We look after patients from as far as the South Australian border to Deniliquin… and Benalla, Lake Eildon and the Albury-Wodonga area,” Dr Nadurata said.

By extending the on-call service to all hours of the weekend in October last year, emergency patients no longer need to be transported to Melbourne and doctors have been saving more lives locally, like Mr Warren’s that Sunday night.

“The team worked very hard to bring me back,” he said.

“The next thing I knew, I woke up what would have been nearly 24 hours later with all the tubes, a vague recollection of what had happened and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I was still here.”

Mr Warren said there were “absolutely” signs he ignored in the lead up to his heart attack.

“Beforehand I had blurred vision, sore feet, I was constantly going to the bathroom,” he said. “I’ve ended up with type 2 diabetes.

“If you think that something doesn’t feel right in your body, listen to your body. Don’t try to be brave and think that you can sleep it off. If I had waited any longer then I wouldn’t be here.”

He’s now using his second chance at life to make healthier choices and is planning to reopen the White Horse Hotel next month.

“You start to worry about the choices that you’ve made as you’ve gone through life, whether you’ve been a smoker or a drinker,” he said.

“We’re always too scared to go to a doctor or GP and find out what damage we’ve done. This brought it to the surface with me. I had to confront everything.

“If I do the right things with diet and exercise then the efforts that the team put into keeping me around won’t go to waste.

“It’s a lifesaving program and me being here is testament to that.”

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