Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi

Addison Homan was born at 8:30 pm on September 9, 2010. For her parents, Laurie and Duane Homan, the next week was a blur.

Within minutes of Addison’s birth doctors at Abbotsford Regional Hospital noticed the blue tinge on the baby’s lips and nose – a troubling sign that the heart is not pumping blood effectively.

The next morning, Laurie and Duane began their week-long stay at BC Children’s Hospital. There, they found out their baby suffered from transposition of the great arteries, a condition in which the aorta and pulmonary artery are reversed, blocking much-needed oxygen from reaching the body.

Laurie Homan will be the first to tell you that Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi is a miracle worker. At only a few days old, her daughter Addison underwent a life-saving open-heart surgery under the new recruit’s hand.

Dr. Gandhi was recruited to BC Children’s, in part, with the promise of a new hospital and the lure of significant time in the operating room. Raised in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, he studied at Dalhousie and McGill Universities; he trained in general surgery in St. Louis, Missouri, continuing with cardiac and pediatric cardiac training and practice in Toronto and Pittsburgh, respectively. If you ask any member of his team – or any parent whose child he has treated – he is simply one of the best.

Since he took on his post as head of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at BC Children’s July 2010, Dr. Gandhi has had an impact on the already high standard of care received by cardiac patients at BC Children’s. Under Dr. Gandhi’s leadership, the cardiac surgery program has all but eliminated its surgical wait list, reduced the use of blood transfusions, and has cut the normal length of stay in the pediatric intensive care unit following open-heart surgery by more than half.

Last year, Children’s cardiac team performed 360 operations. This included 236 open-heart operations, half of which were performed on patients under a year of age, and many on newborn babies.

Dr. Gandhi envisions larger, modernized operating rooms and inpatient care facilities, an intensive care unit dedicated to children recovering from heart surgery, and an area specifically for cardiac patients in recovery after they leave the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

It still amazes Laurie Homan that she was able to bring Addison home just four days after major surgery. Credit goes to a communicative staff, which allowed the family to stay up to the minute on Addison’s health. “They treated her like she was their own baby,” Laurie says.

Learn more about the new BC Children’s Hospital Dr. Gandhi and the BC Children’s Hospital community envision, and see what progress has already been made. Visit our Campaign for BC Children’s Hospital pages.