Better care with our whole heart

Better care with our whole heart

As the go-to centre for heart care in our region, we take on complex cases and use cutting edge techniques. But, we haven’t lost our human touch. As a community hospital and regional centre of excellence, we provide the best of both worlds to our patients.

Ask Jenny and Gerald Kennedy of St. Catharines. The mother-son pair credit the team at Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) with saving their lives more times than they can count.

20 years ago, when now 81-year-old Jenny met Dr. Madhu Natarajan, she was having trouble breathing and was sent to HGH for a heart X-ray. Dr. Natarajan put stents in her blood vessels to increase blood flow.

Years later, Jenny went into heart failure. No one—not even a renowned specialist in Toronto—would take on the risky surgery that might extend her life. Then she met Dr. Victor Chu, a heart surgeon at HGH. He performed a minimally invasive Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) on Jenny to put a new valve in her failing heart. “They’ve saved my life many times,” she says.

The power of a personal connection

Fast forward to 2018.

Jenny brought her son, Gerald, to their local hospital for a heart X-ray to diagnose the cause behind his worsening health. When they walked into the waiting area, she looked up at the appointment board. There was Dr. Natarajan’s name. Jenny’s long-trusted doctor would be caring for her son.

Our cardiac, vascular, and stroke programs are among the largest in Ontario

“Jenny recognized me right away,” says Dr. Natarajan “Through a partnership with Niagara Health, heart doctors from HHS rotate through shifts in the heart investigation unit in St. Catharines. It was my turn that day, and I was glad to be a familiar face for the Kennedys.”

a group photo of Dr. Natarajan, Jenny and Gerald Kennedy and Dr. Victor Chu

Gerald needed urgent surgery that could only be done at HGH. Dr. Natarajan connected with his team back in Hamilton and arranged it immediately.
Within 24 hours, he was on an operating table having quadruple bypass surgery.

Gerald is recovering well. Both he and Jenny are forever grateful to their team at HHS for giving them more years together.

“We wouldn’t be here without them. They are so talented, but they are also so kind. They’re our angels,” Jenny says.

This story was featured in our community report. Click to read the full report.

Superior stroke care

• We are among provincial leaders in the quick delivery of clot-busting medication and life-saving clot retrieval therapy.
• We have integrated stroke care in Hamilton and Niagara North West, so everyone is treated on a dedicated stroke unit and has the best chance at optimal recovery.
• We have increased the amount of specialized, one-on-one, rehabilitation stroke patients receive by almost 80% in the last two years.

Cardiac and vascular

• We lead integrated services within our Local Health Integration Network for vascular surgery and heart investigation, improving access to world class care for people across our region.
• Our heart surgery program is the largest in the province, completing 1,731 cases last year.
• Three quarters of our TAVI patients go home just one day after their procedure.