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Saturday, August 4, 2012


At the moment Dad is in hospital having tests to see if he is a good candidate for a revolutionary new treatment to replace the aortic valve in his 90 year old heart.

When open heart surgery was suggested to replace his badly clogged aortic valve I was horrified at the thought of putting him through an operation of this magnitude at his age.

So was he !

When the doctors explained that there was a new procedure ( first done world-wide in 2011) being trialed at the moment that might suit him, we were immediately interested. At the present time the doctor has performed about 120 of these procedures.

You see, this procedure is non-invasive - there is no opening of chests, spreading of ribs, being placed on a heart bypass machine while your heart is cut open to replace the valve that doesn't work.
It is meant for people who would be in too much danger of stroke and other side effects of anaesthetics ( and to me my 90 year old is one of these people ).

During the new procedure a biological valve ( usually from a pig !) is inserted through a catheter and implanted within a diseased aortic valve. The procedure allows for valve replacement without traditional open-heart surgery and while the heart is beating, therefore avoiding cardiopulmonary bypass.

Of course, at the moment, it is a clinical trial and therefore the procedure is completely unfunded which means that the patient has to pay for the whole cost of the procedure - hospital stay, doctors, anaesthetist plus the gadget itself is worth about $30 000 - and medical insurance which many Aussies have does not cover experimental treatments (and this includes trials ).

Only 3 or 4 of these procedures are done each month so even if you have the money and are a suitable candidate there is a waiting list of 6 to 8 months.

And this is where this card comes in.

If you have served in any Australian Defence force in a war zone, you are entitled to one of these.
(In some cases widows/widowers and children are also entitled ).

They're called Gold Cards and believe me they are pure gold to their recipients.
As a member of the Australian Air Force who served in New Guinea during WWII my Dad holds one of these and they will pay for everything if he is seen to be a candidate for this fantastic new procedure.

Isn't it wonderful to see that all the veterans are being looked after into their old age by a grateful country?

 Fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.



  1. Yes it it good to see that veterans are being looked after. Wishing your Dad all the very best.
    Anne xx

  2. It is indeed and so it should be. The British army does not have a good reputation for after care for ex-service persons.
    I wish your dear Dad all the best for his procedure.

  3. Wow, thats great that DVA cover the costs, and hope it goes well for your Dad.

  4. What luck! Do hope it all goes well and that his time in World War II will prove to have had its benefits even all this time later!! Will be thinking of you and indeed him and your mother and wishing him every good wish for a speedy recovery. Hope it will all prove worth the wait.

  5. That treatment sounds incredible, how amazing what science can do today. Bravo to the Australian government for treating its veterans so well, your father would have no preferential treatment over here if he was a Brit, that's for sure!
    Wishing you all well for your dad's speedy recovery.

  6. that's really cool that they would pay for your dad .. though the procedure still sounds scary. Wishing the best for your dad.

  7. That's great! Hope everything goes well.

  8. I think it's no less than your father and every other veteran deserves. They gave so much for our country and we owe them at least this.

    Good luck to your Dad.

  9. that really IS a golden card, and well-deserved.

    all my best to your dad and your whole family ... happy belated birthday to your mom, too.

  10. Who needs an Olympic gold medal when you have one of those gold cards? I hope your father makes the right decision and expect that you and the rest of his family will be there to support him regardless of the choice he makes.

  11. Wow, Daddy Helsie - go for Gold!

  12. It's good that your country looks after their veterans. Praying for a good outcome for your Dad no matter which path he and family choose.

  13. First I want to thank you for coming to my blog and leaving a message. I just read your post – I have never heard about this procedure. It sounds like it would be just right for your father. I read the part about the treatment being paid because he is a veteran – then I had to go and check from which country you blog as I did not think that was from the US where health coverage is not the greatest. It is good that Australia honors their veterans this way. I hope your father will be fine and stay healthy for many years.