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With a threatening heart condition and after months of treading water in the medical system, Mr. Myer eventually received bypass surgery. His health improved but a relapse made it necessary to have his carotid arteries cleared in yet another invasive procedure.

His son was busy traveling back and forth across the Atlantic for business. It was a common scenario in which a parent was struck by severe illness, and his offspring was caught up in the usual muddle of ongoing responsibilities and commitments. They had never navigated the complex tiers and layers of the Toronto medical bureaucracy at an emergency level; they had never had to. Now, with time short and complications threatening, assistance was needed, and fast.

The family cast around and discovered Qualicare, a case-management and advocacy group that sounded almost too good to be true. It was, and is, a proactive support organization staffed at the front lines by seasoned registered nurses, including their executive director, Andrea Nathanson. The Myers were double lucky. Their case was accepted, and they got Nathanson as their case manager.

The Myer family's experience was typical of those who engage Qualicare. Myer said, "My father was a strong man, but naturally he had his concerns. He was nervous about the pending surgery, but Andrea, being a nurse, was able to calm him down - he respected her professional opinion. She stayed with him the night before the operation. "We had difficulty booking the procedure in a timely manner through the cardiologist. But Andrea was able to contact a cardiovascular surgeon who booked the operation quickly. She constantly facilitated things. Being able to have someone give hands-on support to my father while I was overseas took a big weight off my shoulders.

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