‘Ottawa’ How Montreal Radio Legend Terry DiMonte Got His Health Back
CHOM morning man Terry DiMonte had the fright of his life two years ago when he discovered a growth on his back. Afraid it might be cancerous, he immediately sought medical help.
“I called up my doctor on a February afternoon and he only had an opening in April,” DiMonte said. “So I thought: ‘I need to get access to a doctor when I need access to a doctor.’ Especially now that I am in my late 50s. Then Cardiogenix came up. So I called their office and they asked if I could come in the next day.”
Montreal’s private Cardiogenix Medical Centre was co-founded in 2006 by Dr. Ashok Oommen, who previously practised full-time emergency medicine at three Montreal-area emergency rooms for
15 years. Today, drawing on his expertise in family and emergency medicine, Oommen leads a specialized staff of doctors, nurses, therapists and dieticians at Cardiogenix to offer patients medical services to help prevent many leading causes of death, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
When DiMonte arrived for his appointment, not only did Cardiogenix successfully treat the growth on his back, which turned out to be benign, but Oommen discovered a more pressing health issue: DiMonte’s weight. At the time, DiMonte weighed about 270 pounds, which — while down from 334 in 2008 — was still an acute health problem.
“In Calgary, my doctor told me: ‘You’re 51 and you’re in trouble. If you want to live to 60 or even 55, you have to do something about it,’” DiMonte recalled. “I went to a rapid-weight-loss clinic and lost 92 of those pounds. Toward the 90th pound, my hair started to fall out in clumps, I got dizzy and fell down the stairs, and I was a mess. My doctor said: ‘That’s enough,’ and I managed to keep the weight off for a while.”
When DiMonte returned to CHOM five years ago, he weighed 220 pounds.
“When I saw Dr. Oommen, I had gained 50 pounds and weighed 270, my blood pressure was up, my blood sugar was higher than it should be — things you don’t know unless you have access to a doctor,” DiMonte said. “So we talked about how to improve my health.”
Cardiogenix offers three medical centres under one roof at their Décarie Blvd. location, which is a short walk from De la Savane métro station.
Cardiogenix Premium is the “flagship state-of-the art division,” where physicians and a team of medical professionals are available to patients around the clock.
The Cardiogenix Specialists division is a medicare-based practice staffed with experienced medical specialists.
Then there is Cardiogenix QA, which, according to Oommen, is their “more affordable private division, built on a pay-as-you-go model. If you budget for about $90 a month, you will see your family doctor regularly over the course of the year, and you will be seen in a very timely fashion.”
“A typical patient going through our preventive programs will come in for a first visit where they will see doctors, nurses, dieticians and athletic therapists and we’ll collect between 250 to 400 variables, depending on their program,” Oommen explained. “After the patient’s initial evaluation, we’ll do an analysis and present them with a 20- to 30-page report on their health which deals with such things as brain, kidney and lung functions, and report how old you are versus how old your heart is, and what you need to do over the next 12 months to optimize your health.”
Long-term health care is a Cardiogenix specialty.
“We can help prevent cancer and treat auto-immune disorders, psychological disorders, eating disorders, major depression and anxiety — almost anything you can think of that falls under the realm of family medicine,” Oommen said.
For DiMonte, that meant following a regimen.
“Because of my program, I am able to go to the doctor almost every two weeks, and they have helped me take back control of my health,” he said. “This is not just about weight loss; it is preventive health care. Stuff like blood pressure and blood sugar can contribute to strokes and heart attacks, and I want to stick around for a while longer.”
DiMonte was so impressed with the level of service that he recommended Cardiogenix to Heather Backman, his former morning-show co-host at CHOM.
“Last year I got severe back pain, which was getting worse and worse,” Backman recalled. “I couldn’t move; I couldn’t go to the gym. I had been going to clinics for this and that. But I wanted one person to watch over me. At Cardiogenix, I chose a plan not as intensive as Terry’s that matched my budget. I made an appointment to see a doctor within a couple days, and after various tests and medicine, my back is better.”
DiMonte likens Cardiogenix to the kind of medical care people used to receive around 50 years ago.
“Doctors would come to your home when I was a kid in Verdun in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when you’d be in the doctor’s office for a minimum of 30 minutes,” he said. “Through no fault of their own, doctors in the public system today no longer have the time to ask you about your health and your life. But that’s what you get when you see Dr. Oommen.”
Meanwhile, Oommen confirmed that Cardiogenix is expanding its services.
“Preventive services, such as annual checkups, are the first to be cut in the public system,” he said. “We not only believe the annual checkup is a fundamental service of family medicine in general, it remains a core service at Cardiogenix. We think it adds years to patients’ lives and helps keep them out of emergency rooms to lead long, strong lives.”
For more information, visit cardiogenix.com.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Cardiogenix.