I am alive because of you

Apr 28, 2016 | News

A grateful Dr. Nayyair Qazi shared his cardiac story with donors at the 2016 Scotiabank Feast of Fortune on February 6.A grateful Dr. Nayyair Qazi shared his cardiac story with donors at the 2016 Scotiabank Feast of Fortune on February 6.

Last fall, Dr. Nayyair Qazi was sitting at home when he felt a pain in his chest. It was a pain like he had never experienced before.

An ER surgeon trained in Kuwait, he knew he needed help fast, and asked his wife to drive him to Mount Saint Joseph Hospital. They arrived just in time.

“Because it was chest pain, I was in a bed within 10 minutes,” recalls Dr. Qazi. “The doctors did an ECG and immediately realized that I might have a 100% block in my arteries.”

Stefanie Simpson, an RN in MSJ’s Emergency Department was part of the team responding to Dr. Qazi case. “We hooked him up to an IV with morphine for his pain, and called an ambulance to transfer him to St. Paul’s Hospital. It was clear he needed catheterization at the Heart Centre at St. Paul’s and we were moving quickly. He was calm speaking to me as we prepared for the transfer, but once we got him into the ambulance, he went into full cardiac arrest.”

Dr. Qazi recalls going in and out of consciousness during the ambulance ride. “I remember it starting,” he said of his heart attack, “then I opened my eyes to discover that there was something in my mouth. Then I was unconscious again.”

Dr. Qazi went into cardiac arrest a total of eight times while en route to St. Paul’s Hospital, and each time he was defibrillated – or shocked – and resuscitated.

It was Stefanie's first time transferring a patient of her own to another hospital facility. “It was quite an experience,” she recalls. “He arrested a number of times in the ambulance, in the parking lot once we arrived at St. Paul’s, on the way up to the catheterization lab, and again inside the cath lab.”

In the cath lab, the St. Paul’s team took over and stabilized Dr. Qazi’s heart. He had a 100% block in his arteries and received four stents – a small mesh tube used to treat narrow or weak arteries to improve blood flow and prevent the arteries from bursting.

Following a five-day stay at the hospital, Dr. Qazi came home and is reported to be recovering just fine. Deeply grateful for the immediate actions of the MSJ Emergency team, Dr. Qazi noted, “They did a wonderful job. I came back from death. I am alive because of them.”

Tapestry Foundation donors have given generously to support emergency cases like Dr. Qazi’s. More than $850,000 was recently raised at the 2016 Scotiabank Feast of Fortune event in February to purchase much-needed new and additional equipment for MSJ’s Emergency Department. The Foundation's Emergency Campaign is now in phase two, with donations being sought to establish an Isolation/Trauma Room within the Emergency.

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