For uOttawa Heart Institute surgeon Vince Chan, home is where the heart is
It’s no surprise that Dr. Vince Chan feels at home at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
“I came here in 2003 as a visiting medical student and fell in love with the staff here. I applied for residency and was eventually accepted for a fellowship and returned to the team in 2012,” says Dr. Chan.
“I’ve lived in this building for about the last 20 years of my life. So in many ways I grew up here.”
dr Chan is a Cardiac Surgeon at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at uOttawa.
“When you first see a heart move, you kind of fall in love with it,” he said.
It’s a love affair with work and all that it means.
“I feel, on a very real level, that the only life worth living is a life lived for others,” says Chan.
dr Chan’s office at UOHI is adorned with photos of his family. Handmade greeting cards to “Super Dad” adorn its walls; Colored pencil drawings and notes with the words “I love you” cover his desk.
dr Vincent Chan is a cardiac surgeon at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He is also ambassador of the heart month. (Photo: Melanie Provencher)
On the day of my visit, the husband, proud father and family man is holding a virtual clinic and visiting patients across the country. Thanks to Dr. Chan and a large and talented team of caregivers are still with their families.
“You saved my life, that’s for sure,” says one patient during his consultation.
“If you wake up in ICU, especially with what I went through, without these nurses there, you won’t make it,” says another patient.
“Please be sure to let them know,” says the patient, his voice cracking.
“I can only agree with you,” says Dr. Chan. “I’ll definitely tell them.”
Although he has performed countless successful surgeries, Chan underscores the critical importance of teamwork at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. It takes a village to save lives.
“It takes so many different people doing their jobs right to get a patient out,” he says.
“Well, I think that’s really the joy of the job. In addition to doing what you like, there’s the idea of having to work with others to get a benefit from it.”
The entrance of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. This month, Corporate Community Heroes are matching all donations, meaning your contribution will have double the impact. (Joel Haslam/CTV News Ottawa)
February is Heart Month and Dr. Chan is his ambassador. He tells the story of the remarkable heart care center and the community that supports it.
“Dr. Keon started this place by caring about our community and giving back to the community. And I think that’s the biggest thing. You work in a hospital where you have patients who want to come back and help raise money and donors who are so generous to support this institute. Being in a center where there is so much community support is definitely appealing,” says Chan.
The Heart Institute treats more than 211,000 patients annually. The patient satisfaction rate is considered one of the highest in the province. It hosts Canada’s largest cardiac prevention and rehabilitation program.
It is a leader in telemedicine and telehealth with a solid track record of reducing heart failure readmissions. It is known for its STEMI program, an internationally recognized, regional protocol that has reduced deaths from high-risk heart attacks by half.
The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Center is the first of its kind in Canada, and its groundbreaking research is changing the future.
“Today’s research is tomorrow’s treatment,” says Dr. Chan.
“And I think a lot of the work that’s done at the Heart Institute, whether it’s clinical or pre-clinical, really has the ability to shape the way we care for people.”
dr Vince Chan in his office at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. The cardiac surgeon and Heart Month Ambassador is also a husband and father. (Joel Haslam/CTV News Ottawa)
Buildings and businesses draw attention to themselves this month by illuminating their facades in red. Friendly “corporate community heroes” match all donations. This means your contribution will have double the impact during Heart Month.
“Heart disease is very common. The community that donates has an amazing ability to transform care at the Heart Institute. Everyone in this building will faithfully uphold that generosity,” says Dr. Chan.
And it’s a beautiful way for the community to say hello to lifesavers like Dr. Thank you to Chan who not only works in our community but lives here. He walks to his workplace every day, a workplace that is close to home and close to his heart.
“You have this community behind you. The people of this town take care of the heart institute. The people of this city care about people with heart diseases. This community is quite difficult to replicate and I am very grateful for that.”
You can support the University of Ottawa Heart Institute at februaryishearthmonth.ca.