The 46-year-old father dies from cardiac arrest after his ‘non-essential’ heart surgery was canceled
A 46-year-old Canadian man died of heart failure after a defibrillator installation procedure was canceled when the COVID-19 lock canceled all ‘nonessential’ operations at his Alberta hospital.
It was April when Jerry “Ched” Dunham was told that it had been decided not to operate, although it was a procedure he urgently needed to save his life.
On the day the crushing news was delivered, Dunham, originally from Ontario, waited 45 minutes to see his doctor in an attempt to beg him to change his mind.
Jerry ‘Ched’ Dunham, 46, is pictured with his ex-wife, Krista Lambier, 42, and two daughters, Reydian, nine and six-year-old Atlin
Dunham was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2018, but surgery was delayed. In the end, he told his friends and family on Facebook about his hopeless situation
After his diagnosis, Dunham was unable to continue working on his construction job. He eventually lost his home, and the father of two moved back to his parents’ house.
Instead, he was brushed away and told that the doctor was “too busy” to see him despite an appointment.
Feeling utterly powerless and with no good options open to him, he took to Facebook to explain his situation to friends and family.
“I was told that the government is willing to risk my life to save my life,” he wrote. “Let me say that again, my government has told me they want to let me die, which they say is for my own safety …”
No follow-up appointments were made and there were no plans to reschedule pacemaker surgery.
Two months later, on June 7, the father of two young daughters died eight days earlier on May 30 after cardiac arrest. The heart attack eventually deprived him of oxygen to his brain, and he was taken to hospital and placed on a ventilator.
Dunham first noticed that there was something wrong with his health when he was unable to catch his breath in 2018.
Dunham, pictured with his ex-wife and two children, was due to have a pacemaker fitted in April this year, but the coronavirus broke out his ‘non-essential’ surgery
Despite being reasonably fit, a hockey player and a construction worker, he was eventually diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was told he might need a heart transplant, but would get a defibrillator in the meantime.
After being diagnosed with serious heart problems, his commercial driving license was suspended, preventing him from working on construction sites.
“So six months later or so, time for surgery and boom, all nonessential operations postponed,” Dunham explained on his Facebook page.
Cardiac surgery, apparently considered to be non-essential. Now I know some say it’s not essential, but it’s goddamn essential to me. Now I am told today it could possibly be a year or two?
“So what should I kiss my goodbye? I’m starting to go crazy here. Wondering what to do? ‘ he asked.
Dunham suffered a heart attack on May 30 and died eight days later on June 7
Dunham eventually had to return to his childhood home in Ontario.
“I swore to him on his death bed – with our daughters sobbing that their father would wake up – that his death would be in vain. I promised him that, ”said his 42-year-old former husband Krista Lambier Yahoo Canada Style.
“He lost everything he worked so hard for – his house, his truck, and ultimately his community,” said Lambier.
“We all alternate between feelings of deep sadness, disbelief and total anger. How many people have died on waiting lists for empty hospital operations and have no patients? Lambier asks. “How much has their health deteriorated irreparably? Why couldn’t every province leave some hospitals open to treat essential operations and illnesses unrelated to COVID? ‘
Lambier took the couple’s two daughters, six-year-old Atlin and Reydian, nine, to see their father after he was taken to the hospital, but he was not the cheerful father he remembered after being placed in an induced coma .
“When they saw him, they were absolutely crushed,” said Lambier. “Our oldest, Reydian, stood on the bed, hugged her father and begged him,” Please Daddy, please Daddy, come back to us. Please Daddy. It’s Reydian. ‘
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Dunham’s former husband Lambier and the two daughters they shared. So far, $ 21,000 has been raised
But all their daughters could do was say goodbye to their loving father.
After Dunham was taken off the ventilator, he survived for another two and a half days.
Dunham’s 63-year-old mother told Calgary Herald that her son deserved better.
“The system failed him. I just don’t understand how a heart can be called non-essential. You cannot live without a functioning heart. ‘
A GoFundMe page is set up for Lambier and the two girls who have raised $ 21,000 so far.
Gwen Wirth, an AHS representative, said an investigation is underway into Dunham’s death.
This is a tragic incident and Alberta Health Services expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the individual. AHS is committed to providing our patients with safe, quality care, “Wirth said in a statement.
AHS has initiated an internal review to determine all details of this incident. AHS will follow up on all internal assessment recommendations that may help improve similar situations in the future. These recommendations are shared with the family and we remain available for them to answer any questions or concerns. ‘