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RVH celebrates enhanced cardiac care (11 photos)

Ribbon cut on the new 16-bed facility

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie this morning to celebrate the launch of the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program.

Joining the premier were Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, RVH President Janice Skot, Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth, and Mayor Jeff Lehman.

Rolland Desjardins, the very first patient to be treated at the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program, had the distinction of cutting the ribbon for the new 16-bed facility.

"We know the first 90 minutes are critical. That’s why we are supporting the new Cardiac Intervention Unit at RVH. Simply put, it will give patients in Barrie and across North Simcoe Muskoka a better chance not only at surviving, but getting back on their feet and back home to their family and friends," Wynne said in a statement.

The Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program is in partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. 

Until now, specialized care was not available within the boundaries of North Simcoe Muskoka. 

"It's not only providing this high quality care, it's saving time. And saving time is saving lives," said Hoskins. "People, residents, families, communities deserve that high quality care as close to home as possible. This will shave life-saving minutes to get live saving care."

The state-of-the-art unit started providing diagnostic heart procedures last week and has already performed 15 angiograms, including Desjardins'.  Until now, 3,600 heart patients a year were forced to travel to centres outside the region for heart procedures.  This fall, RVH will expand its cardiac services to include angioplasty procedures.

"Make no mistake.  We are saving lives here," said RVH cardiologist Dr.Mark Kotowycz. 

"Having advanced cardiac services available closer to home will not only be a game changer for heart patients in our region, it will be a lifesaver," President and CEO Janice Skot said in a statement.

The cardiac services will be rolled out gradually but by 2020 the heart program will operate 24/7 and heart attack patient will be transported directly to RVH for treatment, bypassing other local emergency departments. 

"This will literally will save lives of our residents," said Mayor Jeff Lehman. "As Mayor you get to go to lots of events and get to open different things that are going to improve people's lives but rarely do you get to go to an event where you know you're standing in a place that's going to save peoples' lives."

"This is a great day for Barrie and the whole region," said MPP Ann Hoggarth, who called it 'an important milestone for Barrie.'

 "The cardiac intervention unit has been outfitted with the most advanced equipment and the specifically trained clinicians,"said Skot, noting the unit features first-in-Canada technology. 



Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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