Welcoming our first patients to the Victorian Heart Hospital

This morning, a proud Monash Health clinical team readied specialist clinics, diagnostic imaging, pathology and pharmacy, as we formally welcomed our first patients to the brand-new Victorian Heart Hospital (VHH).

For Ron, officially the first patient to walk through our doors, it’s an exciting moment in what has been a long healthcare journey.

‘I suffer from a condition called Thalassemia Major and I have been in the hospital system since I was three years old,’ he told us.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that is known to cause anaemia and leave those with the condition feeling fatigued. In more severe forms of the disease, it can also lead to congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

For Ron, receiving quality care and support throughout his journey has meant living a full life and being an active member of the community, which is something he is very grateful for.

‘My experience at Monash Health has always been a good one, I have felt cared for and like the staff really look after you. It’s always been very positive. Sometimes I almost forget that I have Thalassemia and I think that’s a good sign,’ he said.

Mareya Schmidt, the second patient of the day, shared the same enthusiasm following an echocardiogram at the VHH’s new Cardiac Imaging service.

‘I couldn’t believe I was the first person on that particular machine – I offered to autograph it for them, but they didn’t accept my offer!’ she joked.

‘The equipment looks so brilliant, right throughout the hospital, and everyone is so nice. It really makes you feel safe.’

The team were also delighted to receive positive feedback from patient Ebony Gilbert, who came to the VHH for an ultrasound of the heart as part of her regular monitoring.

‘I was born with some issues with my heart and today I came here for a check-up, just to see how things are going,’ she said.

‘This is the first time I’ve seen the new hospital, it’s such a lovely, interesting building. It feels great to be one of the first patients to see it.’

Ebony pictured inside one of the Victorian Heart Hospital’s new diagnostic imaging rooms.

For both patients and staff, this week marks a new chapter in cardiac health for Victoria and beyond.

‘When you come into a heart hospital, you take comfort in knowing you will get properly checked out, by the very best. I’ve had a great experience today, it’s a very nice building, a great new space, there was good parking and it was easy to find my way. It feels really good to be here.’

Ebony shares the sentiment, ‘it feels great to know that we have a facility dedicated to the heart, to help people like myself. To know you have somewhere to go where you can get the help and support that you need. It’s fantastic.’

Professor Stephen Nicholls, Director of the Victorian Heart Hospital and Victorian Heart Institute says that he is very excited to witness this important first step towards the progressive opening of the VHH.

‘It’s a momentous day for us today. It’s the start of a new era and it has been wonderful to begin this journey with the opening of Ambulatory Clinics, Diagnostic Imaging, Pathology and Pharmacy. Over the next few weeks, we are looking forward to welcoming the first inpatients into our wards, and opening what will be Australia’s first cardiac emergency.’

Featured image: One of the Victorian Heart Hospital’s first patients, Mareya, pictured alongside James Harley, Lead Cardiac Sonographer.