RUH Foundation on a mission to raise $5.5 million
After several years of relative good health, Terry York was told last summer that he needed a second implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implanted in his heart to help it pump. He had already traveled to Calgary for an ICD several years ago, however, it wasn’t doing the full job York needed. Prior to April 21, the procedure couldn’t be completed in Saskatoon, so he was put on a list for Calgary. He almost didn’t make it. While golfing one day, he realized he was in trouble.
“My breath was so short, I lost control of my breathing. I was admitted to RUH, put on oxygen and an aortic heart pump,” he says. “I survived, but was in the hospital for a week and a half before taking the air ambulance to Calgary for the other implant.”

Dr. Kelly Coverett with Terry York at the RUH Foundation’s recent Donor Grand Rounds where Foundation supporters learned more about plans for the EP lab.

Heart health is important to everyone, however to those with heart conditions like York, it’s the difference between life and death. For that reason, Royal University Hospital, already a leader in cardiac care, is moving forward with construction on its much anticipated cardiac electrophysiology (EP) lab. The lab will allow patients in Saskatchewan to receive procedures here instead of leaving the province.

Two EP cardiologists, Dr. Carlo Stuglin and Dr. Kelly Coverett, currently conduct EP procedures out of the cardiac catheterization lab at RUH one day a week. That’s possible through equipment purchased in 2009 by the Royal University Hospital Foundation and Saskatoon Health Region. As of April 21 they began implanting ICDs in the operating room. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the program Dr. Coverett has developed,” said York at the RUH Foundation Donor Grand Rounds on May 17, 2011. “My son and his wife are both med-school grads and they both said that if I hadn’t been at RUH and had access to the kind of care they provide, I would have died. No question.”

The two-phase construction of the EP lab begins this month. The full lab is expected to be operational in spring 2012. The EP lab will share the same space at RUH as the cardiac catheterization lab. With support from the RUH Foundation, it is expected that the new EP lab will be as good as or better than any other lab in North America. With a dedicated lab, a wait list of 18 months will be shortened and patients can have these surgeries in Saskatoon.

“Our campaign for 2011-2012 will focus on raising $5.5 million to build a dedicated EP lab,” says Arla Gustafson, CEO of the RUH Foundation. “Patients like Terry and their families will be able to stay in province for surgery and procedures, which is always a better option for them and their families.”
The Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation has already donated $1.5 million for the equipment that will be installed in the EP lab.