Medicine Hat and Lethbridge doctors advocate for additional cardiac services

By Charles Lefebvre
March 13, 2019 - 10:06pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB —  Lethbridge and  Medicine Hat doctors continue to advocate for enhanced cardiac care services in the region, saying it will help save lives.

In recent weeks, physicians from the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital and Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge have written letters to Premier Rachel Notley, asking for a cardiac catheterization lab for the South Zone.

The lab provides additional services for patients, such as angiograms and stents. However, for patients in southern Alberta, the closest lab that provides these services is in Calgary.

“I think we have enough patient volume here that we can actually support a cardiac catheterization lab here,” said Dr. Adeel Azam,  clinical department head for internal medicine and ICU at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.

Azam says in his experience, when he is on call, he can see between three to five patients each day with cardiac problems.

He says having the specialized treatment closer to home will benefit more people.

“If the cardiac catheterization lab was here, we could take them directly to the cath lab, put the stent in, and the transfer, the wait time, is not there,” said Azam. “Sometimes the weather can be bad, sometimes there are other issues, like transportation issues, and sometimes the air ambulance is not available. So, all of those variables will be taken out of the equation.”

Azam says if the lab did get approved, he says it will likely be built in Lethbridge.

He says the doctors are still hopeful they will have an opportunity to speak with government about their needs.

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