Heart of Australia: Meet Jimmy and Bob, two patients of the mobile cardiology clinic

Published at May 10, 2023

Jimmy Smith and Bob Blacket live nearly three hours away from each other, but in May they caught up in the waiting room of the Heart of Australia mobile cardiac clinic.

They had come to get their hearts checked by Rolf Gomes, the man behind Australia’s first mobile cardiac testing truck, for its first day of consultations at Winton in western Queensland.

“Pretty flash turnout,” Mr Blacket said.

“Bit flash for Winton, isn’t it?” replied Mr Smith.

Jimmy Smith had heart problems 16 years ago, when he was aged only 40, and had a stent put in.

Apart from a check-up at the six-month mark, he has not seen a cardiologist since.

“For someone like Jimmy, he really does need to see a cardiologist every six to 12 months,” Dr Gomes told Australian Story.

Mr Smith said: “You do feel niggles every now and then, like something’s going on.

“I have a little grandson now, Aaron. He’s only two and I’d like to see him grow up,” he said.

Jimmy Smith and his grandson Aaron

PHOTO: Jimmy Smith and his grandson Aaron. (ABC News: Blythe Moore)

Mr Smith began to experience chest pain during the treadmill stress test on the Heart of Australia truck and was referred to Brisbane for further testing.

An angiogram identified deterioration that could be controlled in the short-term with medication and regular monitoring.

Mr Blacket was mustering cattle by chopper in December last year when he walked into the rear tail rotor.

Jimmy Smith and Bob Blacket in the Heart of Australia clinic

PHOTO Jimmy Smith and Bob Blacket catch up in the mobile clinic. (ABC)

“It clipped my hat and caught me on the right arm. Took it right off,” he said.

“I went down and I looked up and I saw the stump and I had another look and I thought there’s no good looking again, it’s gone.

“But it was fortunate, the nerves were still intact, so that’s what saved my life, I guess.

“I was flown to Townsville, had it stuck back together and my fingers work alright. They did a marvellous job.”

The surgeons who worked on re-attaching Mr Blacket’s arm discovered a possible heart murmur and he was referred to the Heart of Australia clinic.

The murmur was confirmed, requiring bypass surgery and a valve replacement.

“Unfortunately, when it gets to that degree of narrowing, the risk of dying is not insignificant,” Dr Gomes said.

Surgery was scheduled for last month but was postponed after Mr Blacket’s dog, Buster, bit him on the hand and it became infected.

Surgery is now scheduled for after the Winton camel races next week.

View original article – Credit: ABC.net.au

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