Her heart stopped three times, but the medical care was ‘a pretty awesome experience’

November 13th, 2013

StaceyStacey Brohman-Way hugs her two sons 10-year-old Cooper Way (left) and Owen Way, 12.

Photo by: Philip Walker, Record staff


KITCHENER — Stacey Brohman-Way woke to a crushing pain before her heart stopped. Paramedics got it going again.                             

They rushed her to hospital where her heart stopped again. She was revived a second time.                             

On her way to the operating room, her heart stopped a third time. Again she was revived.                            

She’s the miracle Mom who beat the odds, the face of cardiac care at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener. And she’s happy to spread the word.                             

“I wouldn’t have made it anywhere else,” she said.                             

St. Mary’s is celebrating 10 years as a regional cardiac care centre. The program costs $29 million a year to operate. Because of it, patients who used to travel elsewhere can stay home for top care. Patients from elsewhere now come to St. Mary’s for treatment.                            

Brohman-Way, 40, suffered her heart attacks a decade ago, blamed on a rare complication from her recent pregnancy. The brand-new cardiac care centre saved her, just as it helped save St. Mary’s.                             

The hospital faced possible closure before securing the cardiac centre and all the funding, patients and medical expertise that came with it.                            

“It also has helped recruit some very talented individuals to this community, and the work of those individuals has saved lives,” hospital president Don Shilton said.                             

Today Brohman-Way takes five pills a day but otherwise lives a normal life, working as a high school teacher and mothering her sons, aged 12 and 10.                             

“I feel fine,” she said.                             

But when her heart was stopping and starting, she understood she was dying. She thought about her children and husband Shawn and how they would fare without her.                            

“When my heart stopped at home, that’s the one I remember the most clearly,” she said this week from her Waterloo home.                             

She regained consciousness on a stretcher with a paramedic giving her chest compressions.                             

“I could see my mom and my husband and I could see their faces and for sure, that registered what had just happened.                             

“It’s not something that I’m ever sad about, looking back on it in all honesty. It was a pretty awesome experience. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. You saw what the medical community is capable of.”                             

St. Mary’s demonstrates good benchmarks in the quality of care it provides to heart-attack victims. The hospital is readmitting fewer heart-attack patients after discharging them, suggesting stronger recovery at home. Its latest readmission rate falls below the average for the province, nation and comparable hospitals.                             

Another benchmark suggests St. Mary’s is increasingly providing cardiac care that meets best practices, exceeding provincial, national and comparable averages. Patients are also less likely to die of heart attacks while in the hospital.                            

St. Mary’s will celebrate 10 years of cardiac excellence Thursday at a hospital event that’s already filled.                             

Cardiac services continue to expand at St. Mary’s, in part to keep even more cardiac patients at home. There’s new technology, for example, to help diagnose heart blockages and fundraising is underway to further improve the regional centre.

Story by: Jeff Outhit, The Record  http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4206690-her-heart-stopped-three-times-but-the-medical-care-was-a-pretty-awesome-experience-/


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