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Meet Darlene: How quick thinking saved her life

Darlene Sorin, of Lockport, has a saying. “It’s never good to have a heart attack. But if you do have one, St. Boniface Hospital is the best place to be.” 

Her saying comes from experience, after she had a STEMI heart attack, the most serious kind, at work in the spring of 2023. She was 61 years old.  

It had been a typical workday. But when she returned from her usual four-kilometre walk over the lunch hour, Sorin felt off.  

“I came back to my desk, sat down, and started working,” said Sorin. “Suddenly, I had a strange feeling, and it wasn’t good.”  

Her friend, Karen, came into the office. She noticed Sorin was looking pale and leaning to one side in her chair. “I told her I just didn’t feel right,” remembered Sorin. 

Concerned, Karen called in Dr. Scott Brudney, whose office was just down the hall, to see Sorin. He told her she had to go straight to the Emergency Department. 

Once there, the triage nurses moved quickly to assess Sorin’s condition as they would any patient presenting with heart attack symptoms. An electrocardiogram test confirmed Sorin was having a heart attack. She received treatment immediately to save her life. 

“I was never afraid, never anxious. I felt like I was in really good hands,” she said. “The care I received was truly remarkable; all the staff were fantastic.” 

Heart disease is the number 1 cause of premature death in women in Canada. Heart attacks run in Sorin’s family, she said. Both of her parents died of them, in fact. Following her own heart attack, Sorin gained a newfound appreciation for the work being done improve diagnosis, care, and outcomes for women at St. B. 

“I’m told that women remain under-studied, under-diagnosed, under-treated, and under-aware when it comes to their heart health. Together we can do better,” she commented. 

Looking back on her experience, Sorin says she feels more connected to your kindness. “I work at St. B, and I was also a patient. I’m in awe that I had a heart attack. Sometimes I still don’t believe it,” she reflected. 

“It just goes to show, Hospital staff are also part of the community the Hospital serves.” 

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