February 21st, 2020
In the months ahead high-tech equipment will replace a mocked-up version of the future electrophysiology Lab at St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre. Construction will begin this spring on a second story addition that will 3,500 square feet of new patient recovery space. And by early in 2021 local patients needing complex studies and ablation treatment for heart rhythm issues will no longer have to travel to London, Hamilton or Toronto.
Excitement is building at St. Mary’s as it readies for construction to begin on the $13 million redevelopment. The long-awaited project got the final go-ahead in December of 2019, after the Ontario government committed to investing up to $7.4 million for the capital portion. The remainder of the cost, which is for equipment, is supported by $5.6 million in funds already invested by local donors.
In 2019 St. Mary’s referred more than 80 patients out of the region for electrophysiology studies and ablation. “From the time of diagnosis to the time of procedure the wait can be over a year,” said Dr. Umjeet Jolly, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist, who will lead program. “We’re hoping that with our new room open that we can shorten that by over 50 per cent.”
Patient Allan Beaupre of Kitchener had to travel to London twice for treatment of his atrial fibrillation. “The wait is very stressful and the longer you have to wait the more the stress builds up and takes its toll on you,” he said.
Navigating around London, and between two hospitals that were new to Mr. Beaupre and his wife added to the stress. “It’s not like at St. Mary’s where there is a volunteer on every corner to help you find your way,” he said.
Costs for overnight stays, gas, parking and meals could be an extra burden for patients and families with limited resources, he added.
Dr Jolly said when services are up and running at St. Mary’s “we can get patients back to work, back to exercise, and everything they need to do, faster and more effectively.”