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New trauma room donated to Kelowna General Hospital

 Radiology  technician Ramona Getz adjusts the new mobile; digital x-ray  machine in the new state-of-the-art trauma room at Kelowna General Hospital during a demonstration Thursday. The room was equipped thanks to a $1 million gift from the Charles E. Fipke Foundation. - Alistair Waters/Capital News
Radiology technician Ramona Getz adjusts the new mobile; digital x-ray machine in the new state-of-the-art trauma room at Kelowna General Hospital during a demonstration Thursday. The room was equipped thanks to a $1 million gift from the Charles E. Fipke Foundation.
— image credit: Alistair Waters/Capital News

When it comes to a state-of-the-art, life-saving trauma room, Kelonwa General Hospital now stands apart in Canada.

Thanks to a $1 million donation from famed local geologist Charles “Chuck” Fipke, KGH has a new trauma room that hospital officials say is the best equipped in the country.

“When Charles made the donation he has just one request, ‘make it the best,’” said KGH chief of staff Dr. Mike Ertel.

The room, with the latest in medical technology, including a portable digital x-ray machine that can deliver full x-rays in mere moments, its own dedicated ultrasound machine, full video capabilities to show attending medical students what is being done as well as help the doctors navigate inside the human body, a machine to treat hypothermic patients and a host of other high-tech equipment, will be used to treat what Dr. Paul Linden, trauma services director at KGH, called “the sickest of the sick.”

The trauma department treats, on average, about five seriously ill patients every day.

The new trauma room at KGH—the third, the largest and the best equipped at the hospital—was shown off to invited guests, including Fipke late last week and what he saw impressed him.

“I think it’s great, said a smiling Fipke following the tour.

The geologist is known for his discovery of a Ekati diamond mine in the Northwest Territories in the late 1990s.

Fipke said he wanted to help the hospital not only because he recognizes the need for the best level of health care here, but also because KGH is a teaching hospital and he feels medical students will benefit from having the best equipment.

“I know, as a geologist, how import good equipment is,” he said.

The new trauma room at Kelowna General was shelled in for future use when the new Centennial Tower was build but it was not equipped at that time.

Ertel said when Fipke asked what he could do to help the hospital two years ago, the plan for the additional trauma room was hatched.

The nine-by-nine metre space, with the majority of its equipment mounted on booms to create more room for the people using it, has been in use for a little more than  a month.

awaters@kelownacapnews.com

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