Second opinion saves Brian’s life

Posted on 9th September 2021

Two weeks beforehand, the 80-year-old cattle farmer was with his wife Evelyn, seeking a second opinion from Dr Rolf Gomes on our Heart Truck.

“If it wasn’t for Heart of Australia, I wouldn’t be alive to be standing here talking to you,” Brian says.

Living in Springsure, 800 kilometres from Brisbane, Brian and his wife run a 12,000-acre cattle property, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down just yet.

After a hip operation in 2016, Brian’s surgeon detected a leaking valve in his heart,

“After my surgery, I visited a heart specialist. After some time, my wife and I decided to get a second opinion,.”he says.

Brian made an appointment with his GP seeking a referral to another cardiologist.

He had seen the Heart of Australia truck set up around town, but it was when he was waiting in his doctors’ surgery that he noticed a flyer promoting the service.

He said to his wife, “The Heart Truck is in Springsure today.” Evelyn replied, “Do you want to go?” but Brian thought it would be too late to get an appointment.

Sure enough, the stars aligned, and Brian’s GP and the Heart of Australia Bookings Team secured him an appointment that very afternoon with Dr Rolf Gomes for a Cardiology consultation.

With dry weather preventing them from leaving their livestock, seeking help was often difficult Evelyn says.

“Brian had been waiting for it to rain before seeking a second opinion, and when the rain didn’t arrive, it turned out pretty well in the end. It’s very difficult for us to get away, especially when it’s so dry. With water shortages, we have to ensure the cattle are well looked after.”

Following his operation Brian spent a month in St Vincent’s Private Hospital and had multiple trips to the ICU, Brian still thanks his lucky stars. “I was one of the lucky ones,” he says.

After his surgery, Brian can see his surgeon at the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton. And with 12-month check-ups required, it means less time away from the farm. In-between these visits, he can catch up with Dr Gomes in Springsure. “It’s excellent being able to see Dr Gomes when he comes to Springsure. It helps us keep up with it all” Brian says. “You have to keep up with it all because anything could be going on.”

Brian and Evelyn have lived in Springsure their whole lives and 49 years on their cattle property. It’s a lifestyle they love.
“Having the Heart of Australia service visit Springsure gives me peace of mind to continue working on the farm and doing what I love. It’s a wonderful service,” Brian says.

Brian and Evelyn Milner joined Heart of Australia as guests at the HEART 4 launch in April, capturing the hearts of all those he spoke to and shared his story with.