The Kelowna General Hospital Foundation has embarked on its biggest fundraiser to date.
The $12-million Be A Lifesaver campaign, to help equip the new Interior Heart and Surgical Centre at KGH, kicked off Thursday at the hospital.
The campaign will raise money not only for the cardiac surgeries that will be performed at the new centre, but also for 11 other surgical specialties that will be available there.
According to Natalie Walstrom, senior development manager with the KGH Foundation, the new IHSC will become the new surgical centre for the hospital, a growing medical facility that not only services the Central Okanagan but also the entire Interior Health region.
“The IHSC will give (the region’s population of) 740,000 people better access to care, reduce the time they spend in hospital, get them back to their daily lives faster and increase the time they spend with loved ones,” said Walstrom.
The centre will include 15 new, state-of-the-art operating rooms, which will replace nine operating rooms currently in use in the hospital’s Strathcona Building. Those operating rooms date back nearly 40 years.
The campaign, which aims to have the money raised and the equipment in place in time for the expected opening of the IHSC in spring 2015, will raise funds for equipment not covered by the $367 million construction cost of the facility.
Walstrom said the top priority of the campaign is equipping a new “hybrid” operating room, that will allow surgeons to operate on patients through a one-inch long opening in the chest, using guide wires and digital imaging to see inside the chest cavity.
The room will be just the fourth of its kind in the province, with two already up and running in the Lower Mainland and one in Victoria.
Walstrom said the hybrid operating room allows for minimally invasive surgery that can be done quickly and, in turn, lead to faster recovery times for patients. Typically, such surgeries involve opening up the chest so surgeons can see and work inside.
In addition to the cardiac surgery equipment, other surgical equipment to be purchased using money raised through the campaign will include millions for dollars for equipment such as advanced anesthesia markers, an ortho-trauma table, microscopes for plastic surgery and navigational systems for neurology, said Walstrom.
The IHSC will be the permanent home for the first cardiac surgery program in the Interior.
“Yet, the IHSC is more than just a cardiac centre,” she said. “It is a fully integrated critical care facility with 15 new operating rooms and inpatient surgical unit.”
With KGH now a major teaching hospital and the IHSC becoming the surgical centre for the B.C. Interior, having the most up-to-date and best equipment available is paramount.
Yesterday, the foundation kicked off the campaign at KGH with a demonstration in an existing hospital operating room.
The campaign’s co-chairs are Dr. Gary Goplen, head of surgery, and Dr. Guy Fradet, head of cardiovascular surgery.