Councillor Steve Bender in critical condition at VGH

Steve Bender

By David F. Rooney

City Councillor Steve Bender is in the acute care ward at Vancouver General Hospital after he began bleeding internally from his kidneys.

His wife, Adelheid, said Thursday that her husband’s ordeal began Jan 5, when he underwent a kidney biopsy at Royal Inland Hospital.  He was sent home on January 7 and January 14 he experienced abdominal pain and severe vomiting. That night he was taken to  Queen Victoria Hospital where they diagnosed internal bleeding from the kidney and measured his blood pressure at 70/35 — far, far below normal.

Adelheid said Steve, who underwent open heart surgery on his aortic valve in November 2010 when he received a mechanical valve and has since been on Warfarin (which contributed to the internal bleeding).

He was then transported to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and from there to Vancouver General by air ambulance at which point he was sent to surgery.  He had only 20% function in his kidneys and he lapsed into a coma and was attached to a ventilator. He was then sent to the Intensive Care Unit.

“By the end of that day — Monday — he was breathing on his own,” Adelheid said in an interview from Vancouver. “His hands and feet are very swollen and his stomach is hugely swollen.

“Steve had dialysis on Monday and we know he doesn’t have cancer (of the kidneys) but there’s something on his bladder.”

She said Steve’s physicians are discussing what to do and when to do it so “he’s gonna be here for sometime. It’s just a matter of waiting.”