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Edmonton surgeon cancels Sask. man's operation after five-hour wait in hospital bed

A Warman man battling a life-threatening heart condition was left waiting five hours in an Edmonton hospital bed before the surgeon came in to tell him it was cancelled. 

It’s been a hard year for Dustin and Kaylee Gasmo.

Born with a congenital heart defect, Dustin had major hospital stays up until he was 14 including a stint related to a major surgery.

He lived surgery free since his teen years, but this past summer that changed.

Dustin wasn’t feeling well and went to the emergency room at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon. After some tests that didn’t indicate much, he was sent home. While Dustin was driving back to Warman, he had to pull over.

“I kind of lost function, I was confused and delusional. Luckily my wife was able to track me on 'find my iPhone' because I was taking too long to get home,” he said.

He learned he had endocarditis which meant he’d need surgery to repair or replace a damaged heart valve because of infection. But actually getting into the operating room has proved difficult.

An original April surgery date was postponed to May 3 and was set to take place in Edmonton.

Dustin and his family booked an Airbnb for three days, and Dustin took six months off work for the procedure and the recovery.

He said the surgery day was filled with trepidation. He headed to the hospital in the morning after surgery prep, including fasting.

Dustin said he waited in the hospital bed for a lot longer than he expected.

“Obviously it was a bit of a mental breakdown. You’re waiting for that moment for them to wheel you into the next surgery room,” he says.

After five hours, a surgeon walked into his room.

“They told me it was cancelled and to go back home. It was tough on me my family and my wife. It was a heartbreaking thing,” he said.

Dustin said he was told that the surgery before his had gone long.

“For him to be in that bed and me by his side for five hours we didn’t think it was possible to tell us to go home like it didn’t feel real. It took a toll on both of us,” Kaylee said.

Dustin’s mother has set up a Go Fund Me page to try to help because they’ve all taken time off work and had to pay for accommodation and food while away.

“We had to choose a house farther away from the hospital because the closer you got to the hospital it got to be $2500, so we chose to drive instead,” Kaylee

Financial burdens are taking a toll on the couple that was just married in September — shortly after learning about the severity of Dustin’s infection and need for surgery.

Although they still don't have a new surgery date, they are trying to stay positive.

“We’re trying to stay positive on this and make the best of what we can,” he said.

His employer has been understanding about the on-again, off-again surgery changes, which Gasmo is thankful for.

When they do receive a new surgery date, they will go through the entire process again — resigned to the fact that they have little choice in the matter. Top Stories

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