29th March 2018

Award winning artist gifts painting to hospital after heart attack

When Tauranga artist Graham Baker started feeling tired and taking regular afternoon naps, he thought it was just a part of getting older.

Then pains in his chest that felt like a bad case of indigestion saw him off to Tauranga Hospital. Little did he know at that stage, that he was having a heart attack.

"You hear people talking about the tell-tale warning signs of a heart attack, things like pains in your arm or out of breath. I didn't feel any of that. It felt I had a lump of ice in my chest."

What followed was a series of tests leading to the life-saving heart procedure performed in the hospital's Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab). A stent was inserted via a tube threaded through a blood vessel in his arm, restoring the blood supply to his heart.  

The procedure happened on a Wednesday; Graham was home two days later.

As you'd expect, he came into contact with the many hospital staff during his experience.

"I asked my wife to write down the names of staff so we could somehow thank them later but we lost track. It felt like Doctor Hassan Fahmi in the Cardiology team was with me every step of the way. He explained things in a manner I could understand and really put me at ease.

"I remember one of the nurses in the morning shift asking me if I wanted something to eat and making me marmite on toast, what a treat. I found out later that she'd used her own bread she had brought in for morning tea."

The award-winning artist says it was instances like that which made him feel so well cared for and he wanted to show his gratitude. So he got in touch with the Coronary Care team and sent them sketches and paintings for subject approval.

An oil landscape of Mount Maunganui, which took about six months to complete, now hangs in pride of place in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU).  

"The painting is just a small way of showing our gratitude to the staff of the Coronary Care Unit. I hope it does its job, to take the viewer to another place and time where they might get a little respite."

Photo caption (above): Artist Graham Baker with the painting he's gifted to Tauranga Hospital's Coronary Care Unit in recognition of the care he received after having a heart attack last year. Pictured left to right: Clinical Physiologist Michelle Bayles, Cardiology Clinical Nurse Manager Jason Money, Graham and CCU Clinical Nurse Manager Chris Southerwood.

For more details contact:

James Fuller
Communications Advisor
Bay of Plenty District Health Board

Last updated: August 29, 2018