Heroes

Talk about a rush job: A heart surgery done in 19 minutes instead of hours saved his life.

You can almost hear the song "Under Pressure" as you read this story.

Talk about a rush job: A heart surgery done in 19 minutes instead of hours saved his life.

Max Morton was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital's emergency room with all the signs of a failing heart valve.

His blood pressure was crashing before his doctors' eyes, and he wasn't a good candidate for open-heart surgery. He'd previously had an artificial aortic valve put in, and it was failing. The signs of heart failure that usually cropped up over many days all started appearing within six hours.

He needed a valve replacement stat, but the mortality rate for patients who've previously had a valve surgery is 34%.


A heart valve replacement usually takes hours. Only Morton didn't have hours.

There was one option, but it had only ever been done with careful planning on patients who were in good condition — not crashing like Morton. The medical team decided to go for it.

It's called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Here's how it works:

A catheter is inserted through the femoral artery in the upper leg.

The new valve is placed in the heart via that catheter, and a balloon expands it once it's in place.

The catheter is removed and the new valve stays in place, doing its job to keep regulating the flow of blood from the heart.

GIFs from Arizona PBS/YouTube.

While less invasive than open-heart surgery, TAVR usually takes a while. And it's usually planned in advance because it takes a big team effort.

Dr. David Rizik, an expert on TAVR, explained to PBS why it needs so many people. Essentially, it works best when you have an anesthesiologist, an echocardiographer, and a non-invasive cardiologist leading the work. But there's also backup staff, nurses and technicians, and an open-heart surgeon on standby.

It's the epitome of an all-hands-on-deck moment!

That's what makes it so astounding that Vancouver General was able to pull it off on the fly.

They had every piece of equipment and every type of professional needed to play each specific role in concert with each other.

Because of that preparedness, they were able to perform the procedure in 19 minutes!

The team made it happen! Max Morton and Dr. David Wood (center) with the team. Images from Vancouver Coastal Health, used with permission.

Dr. David Wood is the interventional and structural cardiologist at Vancouver General who led the procedure with his team. In an interview with CBC, he marveled at what this case could mean for hospitals everywhere.

"To be able to have people come in critically ill like this, mobilize a team, and fix a valve like this through the leg, in that short period of time, I mean — the sky's the limit now, truly."

Since the average survival rate for someone in need of a valve replacement "without surgical intervention is only 50 percent after two years and only 20 percent after five years," perfecting this kind of technology and making it more accessible is crucial to people not putting off treatment. In emergency cases, it's even more critical.

If other hospitals take a page out of Vancouver General Hospital's book, it could mean more success stories like Max Morton's.

Instead of becoming another statistic of heart disease, the 79-year-old fishing enthusiast was able to joke around about going out fishing about 20 minutes after his procedure.

Families everywhere need more happy outcomes like this!

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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