Saving a friend’s life

Saving a friend’s life

Another chapter in Walter’s kindness to others occurred in 1971 and had profound implications. Dad was retired by then and Walter was UBC’s President. They had become close friends over the years and Walter was welcomed in our home regularly when he dropped in for evening visits with coffee and homemade cookies.

Mum and Dad were at a university function at the Faculty Club when part way through the dinner my father felt ill and he and mother decided to go home. As is typical of Walter, he phoned soon after to see how Dad was doing. When Mother reported that she was alarmed by Dad’s condition, Walter grabbed Dean McCreary of the Faculty of Medicine and brought him to our house. McCreary took one look at Dad and immediately called for an ambulance, alerted the hospital to prepare for emergency surgery and rode in the ambulance with Dad to hospital.

It turned out that Dad’s condition was perilous: he had an aneurism of the aorta. Though the surgeon told Mother he had no better than a 25% chance to pull through, he did make it. His aorta was replaced by a nylon sleeve with an expected life of 10 years. Despite this prediction, Dad survived much longer.

Walter’s concern and quick action added another 16 years to my father’s life.

John Chant