Little Eliza May has spent a third of her life in the Victoria General Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
The seven-year-old has a unique, undiagnosed auto-immune disease and is one of 2,000 pediatric patients treated at the hospital every year, a number that continues to grow.
The hospital is now seeking 40 new monitors to provide life-saving neonatal and pediatric care – technology that costs a whopping $1.8 million.
So to raise the funds, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation has launched a new campaign, You are Vital: Pediatrics – a companion to the foundation’s successful, You are Vital fall campaign for decision-making equipment at Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals.
“We want our children home and healthy. When that’s not possible, and when they need expert medical attention, we want them close, on Vancouver Island, surrounded by their support network,” said Victoria Hospitals Foundation board chair Steve McKerrell.
With a growing pediatric population on the Island, the vast majority – 98 per cent – of children are cared for at Victoria General Hospital. Every year, 3,000 babies are born and 2,000 pediatric patients are treated in the hospital.
According to the foundation, one in six newborns spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and one in eight children require care in the PICU.
And for little Eliza, her time in the PICU is vital. She requires nightly injections to knock down her immune system from its state of overdrive, and if something sets it off, it triggers rashes, joint pain, fevers and hyper-inflammation that compromises her body and lungs.
“The Victoria General Hospital PICU doesn’t get the credit it deserves. They work so hard,” said Stacey Wilkerson, Eliza’s mom. “Right now, they need your help to fund new patient monitors. It’s the equipment we associate most with her care and survival because it showed us how strong she was when fighting for her life.”
The You are Vital: Pediatrics campaign will equip the NICU and PICU with 36 patient monitors that “monitor vital signs at the crib, bassinet or bedside” and four central monitors that provide care teams with a “consolidated, centralized view of every patient’s current status” on things like vital signs, heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.
“We are asking our community to help ensure our pediatric caregivers have the best possible tools so that our littlest and most fragile patients can continue to receive exceptional care, here at home,” McKerrell said. “Our NICU and PICU need new patient monitors.”
The is the foundation’s first pediatrics-only campaign in five years. Contributions are accepted online at victoriahf.ca/vitalkids, by calling 250-519-1750 or mailing to Wilson Block, 1952 Bay St., Victoria BC, V8R 1J8.
To learn more about the Victoria Hospital Foundation, visit victoriahf.ca.