Attitude of Gratitude: Why Hemant M. Shah is Investing in the Health of our Community After Victoria Hospital Saved His Life
“Cold hands, warm heart. That is Winnipeg—a diverse and multi-cultural city that I am proud to call home.”
It was a chilly December day, when Hemant M. Shah walked into the Foundation office to make another donation. Hemant and his family have been regular donors since 2019. And, despite having cold hands from the frosty “Winterpeg” weather, his heart was warm with appreciation—appreciation for Victoria Hospital and its Urgent Care team who brought him back to life in 2021.
Victoria Hospital Saved My Life
It was Saturday, June 19th 2021, one day before Father’s Day and Winnipeg hospitals, like all healthcare facilities across the country, were at the height of COVID-19 restrictions. That evening, Hemant began experiencing moderate indigestion. Unsure of whether to immediately head to the hospital, his stomach uneasiness persisted for three hours. After trying some over the counter indigestion medication and at-home traditional Indian herbal remedies, his wife, a former health care worker at Victoria Hospital, dusted off her stethoscope and heard a rattle in his lungs. “Hey, that’s not a good sign. I can hear water in your lungs,” announced Hina Shah.
That one symptom prompted Hina to take her husband directly to Urgent Care at their community hospital – Victoria Hospital. Hina rushed Hemant into the family car in St. Norbert, and in three minutes, they were there. In two minutes, Hemant was admitted and seen. From there, Hemant recalls the nurse telling him his blood pressure was high, her calling for Dr. Ryan, and then the sound of Dr. Ryan addressing him, “Hello, Mr. Shah.” “And after that, the room went black, and I just passed out,” remembers Hemant.
Hemant was experiencing a heart attack. His heart stopped, and for the next 16 minutes, Dr. Ryan and the Urgent Care team performed CPR on Hemant and were able to bring him back to life.
The next day, after 24 hours, the now stabilized Hemant Shah woke up in St. Boniface hospital.
“I give a lot of credit to Victoria Hospital Urgent Care - the whole team…and my wife. Because she worked here for more than two decades, she had that knowledge. She heard that noise of the water in the lungs, which meant my heart was not pumping. All arteries were blocked, we found out later. And luckily, I passed out at the hospital - she brought me in at the right time.”
Hemant credits Urgent Care at Victoria Hospital with saving his life, “While I was at Victoria Hospital, the whole team took care of me. This is what Urgent Care did—it saved a life. I feel proud that we have Victoria Hospital in our community, and we have an amazing staff.”
The positive message that Hemant and his family want to get out to South Winnipeg and across Manitoba is that access to his community hospital with a great team saved his life, “I am only here because of Victoria Hospital.”
Attitude of Gratitude
To say thanks for his care and to ensure everyone in our community has access to life-changing treatment close to home, Hemant and his family are giving back to the hospital and community that gave back to him. “That’s my karma. If you do a good deed for your community hospital, directly or indirectly, it pays you back,” reflects Hemant.
Even before his life-saving treatment, the Shahs have supported the Foundation and the community. Hina, was a healthcare worker at Victoria Hospital, Hemant’s brother was directly involved with the hospital, and Hemant himself volunteered with our community partner Victoria Lifeline. But since the incident, the entire family are more committed to supporting the Foundation through regular contributions. Hiren, Hemant’s son, who volunteers as the Vice President of Service with the Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg, supports our initiatives individually; and the Kinsmen are a proud sponsor of our new Tranquility Trail greenspace.
Hemant’s community spirit and attitude of gratitude go back 48 years, when he and his wife came to Manitoba from Mumbai, India. “We are proud to be Canadian. Our kids were born here. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada gave me a better prospect to grow my life.” Hemant adds, “I don’t want to achieve anything special, but I want to set an example for others.” Before his retirement, Hemant worked in International trade, building business connections between India and Manitoba; and now, he is fostering those connections on a community side, a philanthropy side.
In fact, the Indian story of Lord Krishna is the base of Hemant's gratitude.
”Lord Krishna had two mothers. One mother gave birth to him, and the second mother brought him up. It’s the same thing for me—I have two mothers. One is my motherland India, and the second is Canada - Winnipeg. As a mother's son, it is my moral duty to look after both my mothers, contributing in my capacity.”
His message is that we need to think of Victoria Hospital Foundation as our child. And we need to support our child. Treat it like family. He believes we should look after our community and pay back. But contributions don’t have to be a million-dollars; they can be $5, $10, or $100 per month. A little goes a long way when you are committed to the cause. Hemant beams with passion when he says, “If everyone got involved, directly or indirectly, the organization would flourish, and everyone in our community would benefit.”
How You Can Support Victoria Hospital Foundation
Hemant encourages everyone to realize the importance of the hospital and Foundation to the community. The hospital provides health care close to home—Day surgeries, tests, and Urgent Care—without having to go downtown to access these services.
What should we do to improve the health of our community? Well, Hemant has this advice, “We in South Winnipeg are very blessed to have Victoria Hospital. We all have a moral duty to look after our own health organization, and I urge every South Winnipeg resident to support our own South Winnipeg health care facilities. That's my humble opinion. If 100,000 South Winnipeggers gave just $10 per month, the Foundation will be rich.”
Victoria Hospital Foundation’s Grateful Patient & Families Program allows patients like Hemant and their families to show their gratitude for the exceptional care they have received while at Victoria Hospital. It can be your way to thank the doctors, nurses, and healthcare teams for being there for you and enables us to create healthier futures for everyone in our community. Learn more about how you can support our Grateful Patient & Families Program.