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!

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.