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Don of a new day

Cardiac patient says thank you with an endowment

It started with pain on the right side of his chest after a workout in November 2015. As it worsened, Don Phillips went to emergency at St. Boniface Hospital. Blood tests, an X-ray, and an electrocardiogram were all normal, but Dr. Erik Smith wasn’t satisfied with that.

“You’re not leaving here until we figure this out,” the emergency room doctor told Phillips, who was 66 at the time.

After more testing, it was determined that Phillips had a five-centimetre ascending aortic aneurysm, a very dangerous condition. “He was very thorough,” says Phillips of Dr. Smith. “He wanted to know why I had so much pain. Later, some specialists didn’t think my pain was related to the aneurysm, but I saw it as a sign and I had no pain after my surgery.”

Phillips, an active Rotarian and a former partner in Winkler Meats and a partner in Preferred Meats, was scheduled for January surgery with Dr. Zlatko Pozeg at St. Boniface. “I was on the table for four-an-a-half hours and they stopped my heart for 90 minutes,” Phillips explains. “I knew I was in good hands and in the right place.”

After six weeks of recovery, Phillips started to feel great, but complications set in while travelling in Montana. He figured he had exercised a little too hard, but actually fluid was building up in his chest. Not pleasant — and not uncommon. He returned to St. Boniface Hospital for follow-up treatment.

Today, Don’s health continues to improve and he is enjoying a new lease on life. The life-long St. Boniface resident feels strong, energetic, and above all, grateful. As an expression of gratitude, Don and his wife Shirley have endowed $100,000 to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation to support emergency and cardiac care.

“We donated because of the wonderful care I received,” says Phillips. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Dr. Smith in emergency, and Dr. Pozeg and the great cardiac team.”

With their endowment fund, Don and Shirley Phillips will make a difference forever. Call 204-237-2067 today and learn how to establish your own endowment fund. 

To give a gift to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, please visit https://www.saintboniface.ca/foundation/en/donate/

 *This article was first published in the Spring 2017 edition of Believe, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s bilingual newsletter produced twice annually in partnership with St. Boniface Hospital.