Bola Family’s Story

The expression like father, like son took on new significance for the Bola family in Surrey, after Pritam Singh (Peter) Bola and his father Santokh Singh Bola both underwent open heart surgery at Royal Columbian Hospital - a month apart from each other.

For the patriarch of the family, it started with chest pains. Testing revealed one of Santokh Singh’s arteries was completely blocked, and the 84-year old required bypass surgery at Royal Columbian – the region’s cardiac care centre.

Meanwhile, his 59-year old son was surprised to learn he too would need to undergo the same procedure, after Pritam Singh’s doctors grew concerned about his high blood pressure and sent him for a treadmill stress test followed by a coronary angiogram. He discovered a number of arteries were blocked to various degrees.

“It was kind of a surprise to me,” says Pritam Singh. “I was always fit, going to the gym and exercising.”

His father was scheduled for bypass surgery first, which gave Pritam Singh time to watch Santokh Singh recover under the supervision of the hospital’s cardiac care team.

“After nine days of my father there, I had a very good picture of what I would go through,” recalls Pritam Singh, who had his surgery the following month.

“It was decided there is no choice, if I want to live, then I have to have this surgery done,” says Pritam Singh. “Otherwise, it could be a silent heart attack, with no control, because you wouldn’t even know.”

Now both back home and doing well, Pritam Singh says they are grateful to Royal Columbian Hospital.

“I am so surprised at how much qualified medical doctors can do,” says Pritam Singh. “It’s like a second life to me, and to my father also. He’s feeling the same. They have given us our lives back.”

He says they have made adjustments in order to live healthier, including a change in their diets.

“No red meat. No sugar. Fruits, veggies,” says Pritam Singh.

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