Kelowna residents help KGH

Thanks to Colin and Lois Pritchard a microbiology laboratory has new testing abilities

Two Kelowna residents are being recognized for the contributions towards new labratory equipment at Kelowna General Hospital.

Colin and Lois Pritchard have long been recognized in the community for their outstanding contributions to advancing health care in the southern interior region.

Thanks to the generosity of The Colin and Lois Pritchard Foundation, the Larissa Yarr Medical Microbiology laboratory at KGH has new, sophisticated testing abilities with a real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction laboratory.

These highly advanced diagnostic instruments allow laboratory staff to detect and identify specific antibiotic resistance gene mutations, bacteria and viruses faster.

“The Pritchards’ history of giving is really unique,” said KGH Foundation CEO Doug Rankmore. “Over the years, they have been exceptionally engaged with our specialty medical teams to determine where needs exist that might typically be overlooked because it’s not top of mind in the media or even within the general medical community. Their gifts have had an incredible impact in this hospital.”

Currently, most viral diagnostics must be sent to Vancouver for testing in a reference facility, with delays due to the transport required.

The new PCR instrumentation allows for significantly increased capacity to test for viral illnesses directly at KGH. When time is of the essence, having immediate access to this kind of advanced technology can significantly impact the clinical course of a patient.

The gift also includes a generous provision to UBC Okanagan’s Department of Biology to support one microbiology student per year for the next five years.

The student will have the opportunity for a four-month co-op placement in the microbiology laboratory at KGH. The gift has the dual purpose of supporting talented UBC-Okanagan students in real-world learning while also building capacity for the lab to undertake research on the PCR.

Since being founded in 2007, The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation has made possible some incredibly unique acquisitions at KGH including; the Endoscopic Ultrasound in 2015, which allows highly detailed gastrointestinal imaging; the MALDI TOF analyzer in 2013 that speeds bacterial identification; and Telehealth and Video Conferencing in 2012, allowing for remote specialist consulting and diagnostic work to be done where people live.