The Fifth Annual Doctor’s Gala for the Victoria Hospital Foundation fundraiser was a special night on Saturday at Plaza 88.
The event was in honour of Prince Albert Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Khami Chokani who wasn’t sure he would have been there after a severe medical emergency on March 2, 2022.
“It’s amazing. God is great,” Chokani said.
“It’s totally unexpected. A year ago, with my medical emergency that I suffered, I didn’t think that I would have been here if it was not for family, my wife and my kids and the prayers of everybody that prayed for God’s intervention.”
In March 2022, an aorta separated from Chokani’s heart below where the branches come out to the kidneys. There was no blood supply, and the pain was so severe he could barely move. Chokani barely remembers it. He heard most of the details from his wife, Anne-Marie.
“The last I remember was walking down two flights of stairs into the ambulance,” he said. “That’s my last recollection. My next recollection is 10 weeks later learning to walk and get out of the ICU, still with all of these pipes in me, so, I don’t know what happened.”
There had to be several interventions while Chokani was in emergency too.
“My heart stopped six times I think,” he said.
Chokani had to relearn many basic parts of life, like walking and talking, as part of his recovery. On Saturday, he thanked everyone who helped him get to the point where he could be at Plaza 88 on Saturday.
“The response of EMS, the team in emergency, everyone was just amazing,” he said. “Their prayers, I think, was the big thing. Not only did my main aorta separate but even my coronary artery also did the same thing.”
Chokani explained that in North America there are only six people still around who have suffered a similar medical emergency. Anne-Marie said that just being at the event was a miracle
“God’s miracles are still miracles, but not just a medical miracle, multiple miracles,” she said.
For Chokani, the trial made the recognition he received at the Doctor’s Gala even more special.
“It’s just amazing,” he said.
Chokani received the prestigious MNP Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare. The award celebrates an individual whose commitment to healthcare has made a significant and lasting contribution to the health and well-being of countless people in Prince Albert, central and northern Saskatchewan.
Chokani was recognized for his body of work but more specifically his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Life comes full circle,” Anne-Marie said. “All of the sacrifice, all of the work, the true sacrifice that Khami has made, our family has made especially during COVID, the hours and hours and hours, and to turn around and need that care and support back was a humbling and difficult situation, but we were cared for, and I think we were cared for because he is a patient not because he is who he was.”
As the recipient of this award, Dr Chokani has demonstrated exemplary leadership and dedication and serves to recognize his unparalleled commitment, dedication, and work to improve the lives of those he serves.
The sold out event featured a supper and entertainment by the Bromantics. Chokani was presented the award by Cody Barnett Executive Director of the Victoria Hospital Foundation and MNP Prince Albert Partner Kelly Disiewich.
Before the award, friends and relatives honoured Chokani for his service to the community in a video presentation. Because of his health, Chokani did not make a speech himself, but rather recorded one on video.
Chokani is not back working yet at his job, but just being around to receive the recognition was amazing.
“The injury he went through was catastrophic,” Anne-Marie said. “The injury, plus all of the complications and the whole package, left him weak. His body needs time to heal and rest and we will see what the future brings.”
Anne-Marie explained that being recognized by the community in this way after all the family had been through made it that much more special.
“The intensity of what we experienced was deep,” she said. “We want people to understand the significance of what we went through as a family and our appreciation for the support that we have had from the community and the church that is key. This is our home, this is our community and we are so thankful for all of this.”
According to the Victoria Hospital Foundation they raised $121,630 to support healthcare in Prince Albert, central, and northern Saskatchewan.