From patient to keeper, a lasting relationship with Heart of Australia


Posted on 12th February 2021

In 2016, Robert was experiencing extreme tiredness, lack of energy and he even fell asleep while out on his ride on mower. Knowing something wasn’t right, he visited his local GP in Emerald who referred Rob to the Heart of Australia truck.  

Stepping on to the truck, and being assessed by Dr Damien Roper, Rob says “the Heart of Australia Team couldn’t do enough for me.” After an initial assessment and undergoing a series of tests he was told that his heart was having an extra 35,000 beats per day. Rob was instructed to see Dr Haris Haqqani, who Dr Roper studied under, at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. 

Rob was informed that he would be required to undergo surgery for a heart ablation followed by a pacemaker being fitted. This procedure involves scarring or destroying tissue in your heart which is allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm. The pacemaker then maintains a regular heart rate.  

Following on from his surgery, Rob was required to attend some follow up appointments. Due to Heart of Australia visiting Emerald each month, he was able to have these appointments with Dr Roper without needing to travel the 850 kilometres to Brisbane.

Now thanks to advanced technology, Rob is able to have a yearly ‘virtual check-up’. The remote monitoring allows him to securely transmit data from his pacemaker to his Cardiologist from the comfort of his home. “It simply takes 20-30 seconds and my specialist can monitor any changes and advise if any action needs to take place.” 

Coincidently, Rob was the second in his family to visit the Heart of Australia clinic. A few months earlier Rob’s daughter, Rasheeda, was feeling unwell. After a visit to her local GP, she received a referral to Heart of Australia where some initial testing was completed. Rasheeda learnt that her heart was stopping and a pacemaker would need to be fitted. 

Rob’s heart condition was diagnosed just 6 weeks later. “I can’t recommend you guys enough, I really can’t” he says.

Now Rob is the caretaker at the Emerald Showgrounds which houses the HEART1 truck each visit to town. He ensures the site is prepared for the trucks arrival, the gates are open and area is clear for ease of set up. He even welcomes the team with freshly baked slices and, when in season, local mandarins.