Saturday, May 25, 2013

London, ON: World class medical research centre

London, Ontario, likes to think of itself as a world class medical research centre. And you know, it might be true. There is so much puffery surrounding claims made by cities that one has a tenancy to pooh-pooh the claims and write them off as so much hollow bragging. But London has the facilities and the history to back-up their claims of world class status.

I personally have benefited from the solid medical treatment available in London, albeit on an experimental basis. I was the first person in Canada to have a failed mitral valve in the heart repaired robotically.

Think of my operation as open heart surgery but with the accent on "heart surgery" and not on "open." No cracking open the chest for me. All I have to show for my surgery is a small scar  hidden in the fold of skin below my right nipple. (I had to check in a mirror to be sure.) Oh, and I have a repaired mitral valve as well. It's been ten years and the repair is holding.

I also benefited from the research being done by Dr. John White in high powered MRIs. Thanks to Dr. White an error in my genetic code was discovered that explained a runaway heart episode, a V-tach event, that I suffered in the States while on vacation.

After Dr. White's discovery it was clear I was a prime candidate for another V-tack event and possibly sudden death. I now have an ICD and I'm on proper meds to minimize my heart rate problems. I won't live forever but I won't die as soon as I surely would have without the intervention of the London doctors.

Note the name on the building in today's photo: Lindros. On his retirement from hockey, the former NHL star Eric Lindros marked his exit from professional sports with a $5-million donation to London Health Sciences Centre. The gift was the largest known one-time charitable donation from a Canadian sport figure.

Lindros is a native of London, he was born at the London Health Sciences Centre facility. It was probably known as University Hospital at that time. Anyone who follows hockey knows that Lindros had more than his share of injuries suffered during play.

I was at the press conference where he announced his gift and he said one reason for the size of the gift to the hospital was that he credited the excellent health care he was given in London over the years with allowing him to play as long and as successfully as he did.

London's facilities are definitely world class. Don't believe me? Ask Della Reese. This is what Wikipedia says:

"In 1979, after taping a guest spot for The Tonight Show, she suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm, but made a full recovery after two operations by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Drake at University Hospital in London, Ontario."

Yes, there's no question. London's has a world class medical centre.

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