My name is Dr. Patrick Wong, and I never expected to have a heart attack at the age of 37. As a doctor of Pathology at Richmond Hospital, it was a shock to suddenly find myself as a patient in the very hospital I work in, relying on my own colleagues to save my life.
I can’t thank them enough – from the Emergency Department to Internal Medicine to the Lab and Cardiac Rehab. They showed me what they show our patients every day – that their care is second to none.
I want to share my story with you because I am more determined than ever to help ensure our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are able to provide the best care.
I know you feel the same way about making remarkable care possible for the people of this community.
Will you continue to support leading-edge care for patients at Richmond Hospital with a donation today?
“Every morning I take my pulse and I am so happy to have a beating heart!”
– Dr. Wong
It started when I noticed some chest pains while climbing the stairs in the parkade. I chalked it up to a nagging cough I’d had for a month, and didn’t think much of it.
But one day I felt the pains when lying down. I had to get to the Emergency Department. Fast.
Without hesitation, I chose to go to Richmond Hospital as it is a place I know well and trusted with my own life. As they assessed my condition, I quickly learned I was having a heart attack. So many thoughts were racing through my mind. How could this happen to me? What will happen to my wife and infant son?
That night many of the very people I work with saw me in the Emergency Department and tried to lift up my spirits. One even joked that I’d been eating too much dim sum. I had to laugh, despite my serious condition.
Everything about this experience opened my eyes, and I got a better feel for what it’s like as the patient instead of the physician.
Imaging tests showed a 100% blockage in an artery. No blood flow whatsoever. And there was a chance my chest might have to be opened up. That was scary. Even for a doctor.
Thankfully, the best option for me was stents and an angioplasty to open the artery. I spent the next six weeks at home, tired, weak and in pain but recovering. Then I went back to Richmond Hospital for a cardiac stress test after being unable to do much, feeling nervous because now I would be tested on a treadmill.
But the test showed I qualified for the Cardiac Rehab program at Richmond Hospital, and I was thankful for the opportunity. There I began exercise sessions twice a week, nutrition class and a stress management class.
It was all under the care of highly experienced medical team members who really know their stuff. Thanks to that support, I was able to lower my cholesterol level dramatically and lose 50 lbs of excess weight.
Today, I am dedicated to a healthier lifestyle and spending more time with my three-year-old son and my wife, who was so strong and loving throughout the whole journey. Going through an experience like this really makes you appreciate how truly precious life is.
I am more thankful than ever for the expert care that my colleagues at Richmond Hospital – the doctors, surgeons, nurses, and all hospital staff – provide on a daily basis. I truly am fortunate to be alive today and I have our hard-working medical teams to thank for saving my life.
Without a doubt, I now focus on enjoying each day and being thankful for what I have because health is wealth. I’m incredibly grateful that folks like you support such excellent care at Richmond Hospital!
Dr. Patrick Wong
P.S. Your loved ones are in good hands during times of medical crisis thanks to your support.