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Hospital seeks support for surgical campaign

By Don Fennell

Published 2:48 PST, Fri November 27, 2020

Last Updated: 2:50 PST, Fri November 27, 2020

A day synonymous with lending a hand is fast approaching.

Next Tuesday (Dec. 1) is Giving Tuesday, a global movement dedicated to giving back and uniting communities by sharing our capacity to care and empower each other. And this year, Richmond Hospital Foundation is encouraging you to support its $2 million Surgical Restart campaign.

The hospital is home to compassionate, highly-talented surgeons and health care professionals who have dedicated their careers to provide a vast range of surgical procedures to save and improve the lives of patients from across the city and beyond. But the capacity of their efforts is limited by the resources available to them. Each gift supports the purchase of new surgical equipment that will improve care and benefit all surgical specialties at Richmond Hospital.

“The campaign started to come together when the (provincial) government postponed all elective surgeries in the spring, which had a significant impact,” explains Jim Bindon, director of philanthropy with Richmond Hospital Foundation.

Each year, an average of 4,000 in-patient and more than 5,000 out-patient surgeries are performed. And while the hospital has seen a surge in volume since elective surgeries resumed in the summer, Bindon says it is expected to take a period of years to clear the backlog.

That scenario resulted in an increased focus on the importance of surgical equipment, which can quickly become outdated. Bindon says a major community hospital like Richmond Hospital, which has eight operating rooms, can perhaps expect its surgical equipment to last a maximum of eight years at which point it becomes “outdated technology.”

“Replacing such tools every seven or eight years is standard for most hospitals, so we recognized the extraordinary demand on the surgical department and said let’s get the equipment so we have the right tools in the hands of our surgeons. That was the genesis of the Surgical Restart campaign.”

Several different pieces of surgical equipment were deemed urgent, highlighted by a multi-specialized system used to provide minimally invasive surgery.

“The benefit of that from a surgeon’s view is enormous,” says Bindon, explaining that a key benefit of the new generation equipment is the quality of images it provides for the cameras and displays used during laparoscopic procedures.

In addition, a new “SPY fluorescence imaging system” will allow surgeons, for example, to confirm blood is flowing properly during certain operating procedures.

“It’s a huge advance for our surgeons,” says Bindon.

The cost of the system is $1.6 million.

As well, four of the eight operating rooms will receive “technology facelifts” allowing them to communicate directly with each other by sending images and data in real time, creating yet another “huge advantage” says Bindon.

A special lithotripsy laser to help surgeons better assist patients with kidney stones—an incredibly painful condition—is also part of the Surgical Restart campaign, as are a pair of bipolar cautery units that eliminates the risk of electrical interference for patients with pacemakers or neurological conditions.

“Richmond is the first hospital in BC to use this new equipment, and that puts us on par with the leading facilities in the U.S. and around the world,” Bindon says.

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