September 29, 2014 7:28 pm
Updated: September 29, 2014 10:48 pm

Young man waiting for a heart transplant has all his medical equipment stolen

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VANCOUVER – A young man from Surrey who is waiting for a life-saving heart transplant had his truck stolen outside of Metrotown in Burnaby this weekend.

Not only has he lost his truck, but Kyle Sandness had all his medical equipment inside.

About six months ago Sandness was diagnosed with heart failure.

“Healthy my whole life, then about six months ago I guess, I was in the hospital for a few months and then out for three,” he told Global News.

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He went to the doctor initially because he was short of breath, he couldn’t complete a shift at work and he couldn’t go up the stairs or walk down the street without pausing to catch his breath. Turns out his heart was failing.

So he was fitted for a mechanical, or artificial, heart. It helps his heart pump blood around his body while he waits for a transplant, but it requires batteries and backup batteries in case the machine fails.

All the equipment, including Sandness’ medications, were in the truck.

“There’s always a problem, there’s always a risk that it will malfunction, so I have to have backups,” he said.

Wynne Chiu, nurse patient educator of the pre-heart transplant clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital, said this device is very important to Sandness’ care.

“We use this device on patients who are end-stage heart failure, so essentially they are so sick that they can’t live with their own heart anymore and they need a heart transplant,” she said. “But the device is there to bridge them to a heart transplant because finding donor hearts, they come in limited supply.”

“They’re not on a shelf.”

Chiu said these pumps are not implanted in a patient without careful consideration beforehand. “We use this device kind of on a last-ditch effort,” she said. “Patients have to be a transplant candidate in British Columbia to qualify for this device so once we’ve determined that they are a heart transplant candidate but we can’t find them a donor heart in time, we would implant this pump in order to get them back on the list one day to get them a heart transplant.”

Chiu said it is extremely important to maintain these machines and for the patient to take their medications.

“Once the device is implanted and running in the patient, it needs to continuously run,” she said. “So having batteries, changing batteries, maintaining battery power to the device, extremely vital because if there’s no power going to the device the pump will stop and the patient, depending on patient’s background of their heart problem, they might pass out within seconds.”

Sandness said he was able to go to St. Paul’s Hospital and get a backup computer and more medication but he would like the medical equipment returned.

“The batteries itself are quite important, that’s all taxpayer money right there,” he said.

His wallet was found in Aldergrove with no money inside but he is appealing to whoever took his truck to do the right thing and return the medical supplies.

“Absolutely everything was in there,” he said. “I have a house charger for the batteries, I have a plug for the computer, car chargers for the computer.”

Sandness’ truck is a dark grey, Ford F350 model from 2007 with Harley Davidson trim. the License plate number is HL 8891

If anyone sees the truck or knows where the equipment is, please contact the Burnaby RCMP.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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