Bentley Wiebe

Imagine a moment that changes the course of medical history in Saskatchewan – for Bentley Wiebe, such a pivotal moment arrived unexpectedly this past May when he received ground-breaking cardiac surgery at Royal University Hospital.

A few months earlier, Bentley, a boilermaker who has taught and mentored many in the welding profession, was preparing for routine knee replacement surgery in his home community of Prince Albert. Yet, this anticipated procedure was merely the prelude to a far more critical health intervention. It was during this routine preparation that a heart murmur caught his doctor’s attention, unveiling a far more serious concern: a severely damaged mitral valve, one of four essential heart  valves that helps blood flow through the heart and out to the body.

“I know I am at the age when things start to go wrong with one’s body,” says the 57-yearold. “But to find out that my mitral valve was so damaged, well, that’s a very  serious life-threatening condition that will kill you if not looked after right away.”

Traditionally, a diagnosis like Bentley’s would require standard open-heart surgery through a midline chest sternotomy—a formidable procedure that involves a lengthy incision down the center of the chest. This invasive approach typically results in a long and painful recovery period, accompanied by a prominent scar that serves as a lasting reminder of the ordeal.

Destiny had another plan for Bentley, all thanks to the efforts of RUH cardiac surgeon Dr. Aly Ghoneim and his surgical team. Their pivotal role in introducing the province’s first minimally invasive cardiac surgery program in May marked a turning point.

On May 24, Bentley underwent a groundbreaking procedure where only a small incision was made on the upper right side of his chest. This approach allowed for the use of advanced endoscopic techniques to successfully repair his mitral valve.

“I am extremely grateful that this new minimally invasive option was available to me in our province at RUH and that I didn’t require open heart surgery,” says  Bentley. “Everyone involved is a lifesaver and a rock star to me.”

Building on the initial successes of the minimally invasive cardiac surgery program, RUH Foundation and supporters like the Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation have purchased additional equipment dedicated to this new procedure. Your generosity is a lifeline to those in need and an investment in a healthier tomorrow.

To learn more about how your donation advances patient care excellence at RUH, please contact RUH Foundation at 306.655.1984 or

If you’d like to help ensure that RUH continues to provide medical teams with the tools they need to help save and improve lives, please donate today.

Read more inspiring stories in our Spring 2024 Milestones or make your donation now.

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