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Local chef treats health care providers to gourmet dinner for saving his life

People express gratitude in different ways – for Doug Hope, a farm-to-table chef from Warkworth – it’s through food. Doug suffered a cardiac arrest on New Year’s Day 2019, and a year later, he hosted a six-course dinner for 14 of the paramedics and health care professionals who saved his life.

When Doug flatlined at his parents’ house, his partner Tina performed CPR on him until firefighters and paramedics arrived and rushed him to Belleville General Hospital’s Emergency Department where his heart was restarted. He was cooled in the ICU for 24 hours to protect his brain then rewarmed, and was very lucky to not suffer any brain damage.  He later had Bypass Surgery at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and has recovered well since.

“What is miraculous about this story is that less than 6 per cent of people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and about 4 per cent survive to hospital discharge, many with a brain injury,” said Dr. Andrew Samis, BGH Intensivist and Surgeon, and one of Doug’s care providers. “Not only did Doug survive but he did not suffer any brain injury and was able to reopen his restaurant last summer and carry on with his work, with much of the community of Warkworth helping him and his family during the hard times. It’s an incredible outcome and speaks to the great care our health care system provides in our region of the province.”

“I have so much to be grateful for,” said Doug. “The paramedics, doctors and nurses put so much of their lives into what they do. They don’t often get to see what happens after. Patients are in and out and on to the next thing, and the health care providers don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

On January 9th, at his Warkworth eatery called ‘Sper, Doug served a gourmet, six-course dinner fit for a king (or someone who saved your life) to 14 people involved in all aspects of his care – paramedics, BGH Emergency doctor and nurse, ICU doctor and nurses, Medicine unit nurses, and cardiac nurses from KGH.

“It was an amazing and very emotional evening,” said Dr. Samis. “Health care providers almost never get any feedback or hear outcomes of the care we provide. It was an uplifting, once-in-a-career event for everyone there.”

“The emotions I had that night were overwhelming,” said Doug. “Seeing all those people – they’re on a pedestal for me. They were all so humble and didn’t seem to think they did anything too far out of the ordinary – it’s just what they’re meant to do as a person. Being able to serve them, and listening to them chat, laugh and have a good time was amazing. I couldn’t have done enough for those people.”

The group of QHC nurses and doctors who enjoyed a dinner at Doug Hope's restaurant.
The Quinte Health Care group that enjoyed dinner at Doug's restaurant. From left: Gen MacDonald, RN and Professional Practice Specialist; Dr. Andrew Samis, ICU; Kathleen Kramer RN ER; Sarah Ryckman, RPN Q5; Tina (Doug's common law partner); Doug Hope; Dr. Craig Bolton, ER; Giffy Justine, RN ICU.