An interventional radiology patient's perspective

Jennifer and family

Shortly after arriving home from work on October 8, 2019, I passed out and went into cardiac arrest in front of my parents and two young children.

As a lawyer, I talk to people about end of life and estate planning on a daily basis. But on that October day, I never could have imagined that the end of my life as I knew it was so close.

I woke up approximately 16 hours later at the QEII, intubated with no concept of what had happened over those lost hours. My husband, who had left for work in Alberta not 24 hours earlier, was standing over me - and that’s when I knew something was seriously wrong.

I came to learn that I had suffered a very serious blood clot which was blocking the blood flow to my lungs. I had what is known as a saddle pulmonary embolism - a clot that blocked both sides of my pulmonary artery.

One of the procedures that was vital to my positive outcome was when QEII interventional radiologist, Dr. Rivers-Bowerman, performed a thrombectomy to remove the clot in my lungs. This procedure took place in the interventional radiology (IR) suites at the QEII.

At the same time, he also placed a filter in my vein to prevent other clots from travelling from my leg to my lungs. Without these procedures, the IR suites, and the extraordinary team at the QEII - my prognosis could have been drastically different.

While I am eternally grateful to these professionals for saving my life, I’m also grateful for how they cared for my family during my stay at the QEII. Their compassion made all the difference during one of the most difficult moments of our lives.

Most people don’t know what interventional radiology is. I certainly didn’t, until it saved my life. This team is the backbone for all departments at the QEII and I bet one of their procedures has already impacted you or someone you love.

Whether it’s cancer patients, patients with dangerous bleeding or people with life threatening blood clots like me - the interventional radiology team is here for every patient at the QEII.

We never know when something is going to come along and knock us off our feet. As a healthy, young mom, I never thought I’d be the one who would need this care but I couldn’t be more grateful that it saved my life.

This holiday season, please consider supporting the QEII’s new IR suites and the phenomenal team that works within them. Your gift could help save the life of someone just like me - a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend.