The stretcher used to save a Burnaby woman’s life will now be replaced with a professionally manufactured one developed by Royal Columbian Hospital staff – thanks to an anonymous donor.
Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation was given an $85,000 donation to fund the specialized stretcher, monitors and other critical equipment for the hospital’s mobile ExtraCorporeal Life Support team.
“There isn’t a higher risk transport than when a patient is on (extracorporeal life support),” said Dustin Spratt, who co-leads the mobile team, in a media release. “We have had a 100 per cent success rate on all of the transports we have done … this vital service saves lives.”
The team had created their own extracorporeal stretcher and helped develop a professional one that is now being manufactured – but the hospital foundation could not afford to purchase the piece of equipment without donations.
After the foundation’s plea for donations was made public in the media, the anonymous donor decided to come forward.
“And they weren’t the only ones who were moved by this story: a second donor has come forward, pledging $40,000 in support for the mobile (extracorporeal life support) response equipment, in addition to numerous other individuals who have donated in support of this need,” the release states.
Royal Columbian is the only hospital in the province with a mobile life support response team that can transport critically ill patients back to the hospital for life-saving surgery or advanced intensive care.
The special stretcher is a modified version of a heart-lung machine that artificially takes over heart and/or lung function, keeping the patient alive in a situation that would otherwise lead to death.
“Royal Columbian Hospital is one of B.C.’s most complex care hospitals, providing the highest level of trauma, neurosciences and cardiac care,” said Adrienne Bakker, foundation president and CEO, in the release. “Through this story, our donors came to recognize that RCH is a centre of excellence in treating critically ill and injured patients, and that without this extra funding, the mobile (extracorporeal) team would have to continue to borrow and adapt equipment from other RCH departments or from the hospital that they are retrieving the patient from.”
As the Burnaby NOW previously reported, Burnaby resident Linette Ho’s life was saved last summer when she was transported from Burnaby Hospital to Royal Columbian following the collapse of her lungs.
“This is equipment that’s needed,” Ho told the NOW. “If it wasn’t around, I wouldn’t be alive.”
The foundation is still fundraising for its $1.5-million equipment campaign. For more information, contact Barbara Becker, director of major gifts, at 604-520-4438 or visit rchcares.com.
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