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Lucky to be alive – how to change your life

Lucky to be alive – how to change your life

Mark Meaney meets the Premier, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP; Minister for Health, the Hon Jill Hennessey MP; and Member for Frankston, Mr Paul Edbrooke on their tour of the Rapid Assessment Chest Pain Unit.

“I’m lucky to be here to tell the tale,” says Mark Meaney, former truck driver from Rosebud.

Mark suffered a major heart attack and he credits doctors at Peninsula Health for saving his life.

As one of the first patients in our new Rapid Assessment Chest Pain Unit, which opened in February, Mark knows all too well the dangers of poor diet, smoking and no exercise.

Cardiovascular disease, which can lead to both heart attacks and stroke, remains the leading cause of death and disability for people in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.

“The number of people living with cardiovascular disease is increasing due to an ageing population – it kills one Australian every 12 minutes,” says Director of the Peninsula Health Heart Service and senior cardiologist, Dr Philip Carrillo.

“Making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, increasing activity and improving diet can help prevent cardiovascular disease but sometimes people still need specific treatment.”

Peninsula Health recently launched the Peninsula Health Heart Service – a state-of-the art comprehensive service available free for public patients at Frankston Hospital, designed to provide world-class care for cardiovascular problems.

“Peninsula Health Heart Service will benefit all patients admitted with cardiac disease, as it has the latest equipment,” says Dr Carrillo.

“It is a state-of-the-art facility and the newest and most modern acute cardiac service on the Mornington Peninsula.”

Peninsula Health Heart service is equipped with 24 acute cardiac in-patient beds and eight beds in the recently opened Rapid Assessment Cardiac Unit (RACU) – which is for the rapid assessment of patients who come to Emergency with chest pain.

We have a dedicated Cardiac Catheter Lab, where doctors perform coronary angiography, coronary stenting, right heart catheterisation, pacemaker insertion, defibrillator insertion, cardiac resynchronisation therapy, trans-oesophageal echocardiography and cardioversion.

“There is also a new dedicated cardiac out-patient department, where out-patients can be assessed and fully investigated at no personal expense – both the clinic appointments and investigations are bulk-billed,” Dr Carrillo explains.

“Peninsula Health Heart Service is a service available to all, as long as patients have a valid referral from their GP, the Emergency Department or other doctor.”

While it’s important to have access to the latest technology to treat heart problems, prevention is the best medicine.

Since his heart attack, Mark has completely changed his lifestyle.

“I’ve stopped smoking, I’m being careful with what I eat, and I’m exercising more than ever,” he says.