The Porubanecs

Margaret Porubanec recalls the day when her 22 year old son Trevor discovered he had a life-threatening heart condition called Brugada Syndrome.

“He collapsed at home unexpectedly. I called 911 and started to give him CPR but I felt helpless. As a parent you want to keep your children safe and protected. There is nothing worse than when you have absolutely no control.”

Brugada Syndrome causes your heart to race beyond its ability to pump blood.  It can accelerate up to 200 or 300 beats per minutes – effectively it leads to sudden cardiac death.  Trevor was air-lifted to Victoria where an ICD, Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator, was inserted.   If another episode were to occur, the ICD would be there to save his life.

Five years later, Trevor was informed that the ICD had been recalled and he would have to once again undergo surgery.   “I was told that because the operation could have further complications, open-heart surgery may be required.  They said the best place to have this done was in a Hybrid Operating Room – and unfortunately the closest was in Vancouver,” explains Trevor.

Hybrid is a literal term.  This operating room combines minimally-invasive and traditional open procedures.  At the time of Trevor’s surgery, Kelowna did not have a Hybrid OR, but thanks to the Be a Lifesaver campaign and donors like Darrel and Margaret, it is in our very near future.

“The IHSC (Interior Heart & Surgical Centre) will be the permanent home of the only cardiac surgical program for the Interior’s 740,000 patients,” says Dr. Guy Fradet, Head of Cardiovascular Surgery at KGH.  “Having a Hybrid Operating Room means we will be able to treat very complicated elective, emergency and trauma patients, saving many lives with world-class techniques, right here at home.”

Trevor’s parents, long-time supporters of the KGH Foundation, now know first-hand how important every dollar in health care is.  “The province will give you the basics,” his father Darrell reflects, “but the community has to provide the extras.”

Thanks to the technology provided by a Hybrid Operating Room, Trevor is now enjoying every day to the fullest.  He has taken up cycling, leads an active lifestyle and plans to take a trip to visit his fiancé in Japan where she’s currently teaching.