'My heart, my health, my choice'

Dave Bartlett
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Premier discusses surgery in the U.S.

Premier Danny Williams says he feels better every day as he recovers from heart surgery performed in Florida earlier this month.



In a telephone interview with Transcontinental Monday evening, Williams talked about the surgery, his confidence in the province's health-care system and his desire to get back to work.

Premier Danny Williams says he feels better every day as he recovers from heart surgery performed in Florida earlier this month.



In a telephone interview with Transcontinental Monday evening, Williams talked about the surgery, his confidence in the province's health-care system and his desire to get back to work.



Williams had a mitral valve repair procedure at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in Miami Beach Feb. 4.



"I'm doing fine," he said.



"Now it's just a question of letting your body recover. Just getting your strength and getting your endurance back."



Williams has known he would have to have heart surgery since late spring when his family doctor in St. John's found a heart murmur.



He was referred to two local cardiologists, who discovered after tests he had a moderate mitro valve tear.



By December, doctors discovered the tear had gone from moderate to severe.



"It was their advice I get this (surgery) done outside of the province," Williams said.



When he inquired about getting a less invasive procedure done in Canada, Williams was told he would likely have to settle for the more traditional procedure which would involve cutting his sternum and opening his rib cage.



After looking at various options, he got a second opinion from a leading cardiac surgery in New Jersey who is originally from this province.



Dr. Lynn McGrath highly recommended he see Dr. Joe Lamelas at Mount Sinai.



The procedure Lamelas performed involved making a small incision below Williams' armpit and using special instruments to repair the damaged valve.



"As a result, there's minimal physical damage to your body," Williams said.



Besides that, there's a decreased risk of infection, less bleeding and a much shorter recovery time, which was the premier's biggest concern.



But Williams said the two-hour surgery lasted about 6 1/2 hours after doctors found more damage than originally thought.



Still, Williams was out of intensive care in a couple of days, out of hospital in less than a week and is gradually getting back to form.



"Your heart and lungs have to rebound and you're supposed to take that gradually, which is not something I'm used to," he said.



The premier said he has "full confidence" in the province's health-care system. "All my testing was done here, my diagnosis was done here, I've had other surgeries," he said. "If this surgery would have been able to be done in Burin I would have gone to Burin."



But he said when he got involved in politics, he didn't give up the right to choose where he could have surgery.



"It's my heart, it's my health and it's my choice," he said.



"It was an unselfish solution because I'm looking to try and get back on the job ASAP."



He then laughed when he admitted the idea of having a less painful procedure also appealed to him.



During his recovery, Williams has been able to enjoy watching the Olympics on TV, but has also kept abreast of issues at home through e-mails and conference calls.



"You know me, I'm a workaholic. I don't like to be away from work," he said. "It's a luxury to watch the Olympics, but it's not my preference, if I can be quite honest."



Williams also thanked all the people for the many cards and letters he's received.



"The strength that gives you at a time like this is enormous."



He still expects to be back at work sometime in March before the House of Assembly opens. And there's a possibility he may make it to Vancouver before the Olympics end, if his doctors give him the OK.

Organizations: Mount Sinai Medical Centre, ASAP

Geographic location: U.S., Florida, Miami Beach St. John's Canada Burin New Jersey Mount Sinai Vancouver

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Marble Repair West Palm Beach
    November 04, 2010 - 07:04

    'My heart, my health, my choice'-Twas great to go through the post! Thanks fro sharing the article!

  • Frank
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    I have to agree with Premier Williams
    it is his health problem and he has a right to be treated anywhere globally. This is not a rare case, people from all walks of life go to other provinces to get various treatments.

    Again, after politics, there is a life too, and everyone should be respected for whatever decisions they make for their own well being. We all have that right, and one should show a little more compassion. I think , people have been a bit too harsh on Danny Williams who is not only our Premier, but our native land brother as well.

  • Mike
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    I wish Danny well! Yes, long after politics he wants a less public life to enjoy. Don't we all? I remember playing at one of his conventions. I was amazed he remembered my name. All the best, Premier!

  • Judy
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    can't blame Premier Williams for getting the best medical care not saying we don't have good Health care,we do! great Dr's but it takes months to get an appointment here,then again when you have power,money it works! so,happy Danny is feeling better.
    I will never forget his kindness to my husband and myself going on a trip to Florida,he gave up the best seat on the plane so that we could sit together,thank-you Mr Willians.