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REPORTING · 10th July 2014
Walter McFarlane
The Kitimat General Hospital Foundation held a special appreciation lunch for donors on Wednesday, July 2nd. It was to unveil two pieces of equipment now used in the Hospital, a portable ultrasound unit and a laryngoscope, the latter was purchased by the Haisla First Nations through the assistance of the Foundation.

“We felt it was important to show our appreciation by hosting this donor recognition luncheon to thank you for your support and contributions. Your generosity is helping ensure the best health care possible for the residents of Kitimat and Kitamaat Village,” said Foundation Chair, Corinne Scott.

She thanked Jonathon Cooper, Health Service Administrator, for the lunch and for supplying and furnishing their office. She thanked Carol Walker, his Executive Assistant, for helping them as well.

“With your generosity, the Kitimat Hospital Foundation has raised over $110,000 to date,” said Scott. “We’re grateful to not only the businesses, community organizations, but the support of individual citizens as well.”

Scott explained it used to be the case for Northern Health to purchase equipment, hire hospital staff and, look after the operations of the Hospital. However, Provincial Government cutbacks have led to budgetary cutbacks at Northern Health. The money needs to be spread across the entire region and each community is concerned about less funding.

“With your help, we can ensure that Kitimat General continues to operate to the benefit of us all,” said Scott.

She explained there are four groups which raise funds for the Hospital and what they supply funding for. These groups are the Hospital Auxiliary, the Max Lange Estate, The Kitimat Health Advocacy Group and the Hospital Foundation.

“Our funds are raised for specific projects and we also provide a means for flow through from other organizations for purchasing specific items,” said Scott. She explained that these donations are spent as specified by the donor.

Such money would include money from the Shoppers Drug Mart Tree of Life which is earmarked for the Oncology Department or the $3000 from the Haisla First Nation Council, which went towards the purchase of the Laryngoscope for the emergency room.

Vice Chair Doug Thompson stated the hospital foundation has donated money to four projects thus far. “The first was relatively small, it was a $10,000 donation of seed money […] for the Emergency Room renovations,” said Thompson.

The second project was for the portable ultrasound, which is considered a life saver, and cost $46,000. “It is the difference between taking ten minutes to do something and five minutes to do something. When you are in an emergency situation, that’s a lot of time,” said Thompson.

The third project was the Laryngoscope, although all the credit goes to Kitamaat Village Council who paid for the entire project. The Laryngoscope is a piece of equipment that goes into the throat to help people breath. This tool, however, has a camera and a light so in addition to helping people breath, it also lights the way and the Doctors can see what is happening.

The fourth and final purchase thus far was for the oncology department, providing services to patients. The money can go to a number of different things. This money was donated by the Shoppers Drug Mart Tree of Life.

The next project for the Foundation will be around $35,000 for infusion pumps, which replace the ‘drip bag’ process. “They can administer multiple medications at the same time, they are incredibly accurate. They have safety alarms and things that go off if things aren’t working the way they are supposed to,” said Thompson.

Cooper expressed appreciation to the donors, groups and their members on behalf of Northern Health Authority and the staff of the Kitimat General Hospital for the help which was received from the community. He made sure people were aware it is the staff of the hospital which set their priorities.

“We have to make some pretty tough choices on priorities regarding equipment funding. Certainly [it] can be pretty tough sometimes in making those decisions with the funding we have available,” said Cooper.

Scott thanked the all the donors in for their support.

There was also a letter from Armelle Kennedy of the Hospital Auxiliary which Scott read out. It talked about some of the purchases which the Auxiliary has made, such as the installation of a ceiling lift in every room in Mountain View Lodge. They have also helped with the purchase of a number of items totaling $162,174. The complete list will be posted at the gift shop. The funding for the auxiliary comes from running the gift shop, renting televisions to patients and the Christmas bizarre, plant and bake sales.