Steve McKerrell, the Victoria Hospitals Foundation chair, demonstrates CPR on a faux patient at the launch of the You Are Vital campaign on Oct. 25. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

You Are Vital $3.5M campaign launched for new hospital equipment

Victoria Hospitals Foundation looking for crucial equipment

Surrounding a mannequin patient, nurses from the intensive care unit of the Royal Jubilee Hospital watch his simulated heart rate closely — then the heart monitor beeps rapidly as the doll patient’s heart stops beating.

Dr. Omar Ahamd, Island Health’s department head of emergency and critical care medicine, jumps in and nurses begin CPR. The patient’s been down for two minutes as they charge the defibrillator paddles to restart his heart.

It’s life-saving equipment such as this that the hospital needs to upgrade.

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“These existing monitors are seven and 10 years old in some areas. It would be like having a cell phone that is seven or 10 years old. We want their teams to have the best available tools so they can make the best quality decision with the highest level of confidence,” Melanie Mahlman, the executive director of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, said after the demonstration.

“What we enable is for the replacement of the equipment to happen faster than if we relied on government alone.”

On Oct. 25, the foundation launched its You Are Vital campaign to raise $3.5 million for Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospital. Between the two hospitals, more than 200,000 patients are cared for every year. Last year, the foundation’s annual campaign raised $12 million, which went into all kinds of care. This year’s focus is on purchasing more than 100 pieces of equipment, used in all areas of Vancouver Island’s two busiest hospitals.

“The Hospital Foundation was critical in getting us the funding to have the high-fidelity mannequin,” Dr. Ahmad said. The training the hospital is able to provide with simulated scenarios, he added, helps keep their physicians calm in real-life treatment, in turn helping their patients better.

“In every day, in every case I encounter, I seek out vital signs as the first indicator of a patient’s health and their status,” he said.

Equipment such as heart monitors can also help find a more accurate and quicker diagnosis of a patient’s issues.

“They really do help us detect a lot of the underlying conditions the patient may be suffering from. They also inform us if there are changes in patients’ conditions that might not be otherwise obvious, such as somebody’s heart rate getting a little bit faster,” Ahmad said.

Without the foundation’s help, he said, there would be significant delays in upgrading critical equipment including the patient monitoring equipment used hospital-wide.

The You Are Vital campaign will run through March 2019. More information and where to give donations can be found on www.victoriahf.ca.

READ MORE: Peninsula hospital foundation to raise $2 million to woo new doctors


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The Victoria Hospitals Foundation launched their campaign to raise funds for new equipment, like the pictured defibirllator and heart monitor, on Oct. 25. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

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