Victoria resident Rebecca Wright has always lived an adventurous and active life. Her 13-year career as a flight attendant and her passion for motorcycle riding allowed her to travel all over the world.
On a vacation this summer in Nelson, BC, Rebecca began to feel chest pain and shortness of breath while walking up a flight of stairs. She became concerned about her symptoms; after all, she exercises regularly and has always maintained a healthy lifestyle, so these signs during activity were out of the ordinary for her. Before beginning her career as a flight attendant Rebecca was a nurse, and her medical knowledge signaled to her that something could be wrong. Rebecca checked her pulse and noticed that is was still normal, and decided to continue her trip but visit the clinic on Monday when she returned home.
Due to her previous clean bill of health, Rebecca was told at the clinic that she might have an iron deficiency and was sent for bloodwork. Throughout the following day, the pain and shortness of breath worsened, and she made arrangements for a friend to drive her to the hospital the next morning. By early Wednesday morning, Rebecca’s condition became critical and her boyfriend immediately called 911. Two ambulances arrived at her house within minutes and took her to the Emergency Department at Victoria General Hospital (VGH) where she was treated by Dr. Gavin Jones.
Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Jones always knew he wanted to be a doctor and explore other countries. After finishing his education, he moved to Regina, Saskatchewan where he continued his work in Emergency medicine. “The cutting edge aspects of Emergency medicine has always interested me,” says Dr. Jones. “Emergency is always fast paced and I enjoy making a difference in the lives of patients with acute conditions.”
For the last five years, Dr. Jones has treated patients at both Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals, and notes the importance of having leading-edge equipment: “Ultrasounds are quickly becoming integral to all areas of medicine and are specifically important when treating acute conditions.”
Whether faced with shortness of breath or a severe injury, patients coming to our Emergency Departments need quality care as quickly as possible. “I use ultrasound technology every day on a variety of patients, all with different types of conditions,” says Dr. Jones.
Because of the wide range of possible illness and injury, and the potentially life-threatening nature of every case, these units must be equipped to provide initial treatment to every one of these patients, 24 hours a day. “Ultrasound technology is an essential part of medicine today and allows us to perform the gold standard of practice,” says Dr. Jones. In Rebecca’s case, it was the collaborative effort of Dr. Jones and his team using ultrasound technology that saved her life.
When Rebecca arrived at the Emergency Department, she could no longer control her breathing and soon after, her heart stopped. “The Emergency team performed CPR on me for 38 minutes and Dr. Jones was able to quickly diagnose the pulmonary embolism using an ultrasound, saving my life,” says Rebecca. “The only reason I am alive is because I was in the Emergency Department, with access to Dr. Jones and an ultrasound, when my heart stopped. I am so thankful for the Emergency team for going above and beyond to save my life.”
Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals operate the busiest Emergency Departments on Vancouver Island and are there for us during times of critical need. So that more people can benefit from the same live-saving care, please consider make a donation towards the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Campaign for Ultrasound Technology. Thank you.