Skip to Equip fundraising efforts improving patient care at SLMHC
Tim Brody - Editor
A new piece of equipment at the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), purchased with funds raised through the Bearskin Airlines Skip to Equip Classic women’s curling event, donated to the SLMHC Foundation, is already having a big impact on patient care.
The hospital’s C-arm has been in operation for nearly six months now.
“The C-arm is basically a portable x-ray device that lets us do x-ray imaging in real time, which means that we can take moving pictures with the x-ray as we use it and we can use that in the operating room,” shared Dr. Justin Poling, a general surgeon at the health centre.
“What that’s given us the opportunity to do is, when doing medical device placement, it allows us to view it in real time, which allows us to do a few more invasive procedures that we weren’t able to offer here before and assist with things like placement of lines and ports for cancer patients as well as helping us do things like extracting foreign bodies, bits of metal and stuff that people have embedded.
“The big change for us, which has been great, is it’s allowed us to initiate our ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography) program, which is something we weren’t able to offer here before. The ERCP program allows us to manage patient’s gallstones that have left their gallbladder and have gotten trapped in their main bile ducts. So what that means is gallstones that have gone from being an inconvenience, to being life threatening, previously those patients were all having to be sent to Thunder Bay or Winnipeg to get this procedure done, both delaying access to care and at fairly significant cost to the system. Being able to offer these locally now, and to deal with those gallstones here in Sioux Lookout, really allows us to accelerate the program and access to care, get patients feeling better faster, and save money for the system, so overall it’s a really great addition for us,” Poling further explained.
“We’ve already used it for a number of cases and it works phenomenally, it’s an excellent C-arm, and is above and beyond anything that we could have hoped for. We’ve done a number of ERCP’s now that have gone quite well, so it has been excellent to have that available to use here. Given the fact that our region has very high rates of gallstone disease, going forward this is going to continue be really beneficial to patients,” he added.
Dean Osmond, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, SLMHC, commented, “On behalf of the Foundation, we are very, very appreciative of all the work that the Skip to Equip committee have done to raise all this money for this C-arm. As Dr. Poling pointed out, all of the procedures now that we can do with this… it’s really keeping services close to home. Instead of having people being sent out for something like an ERCP, they can now get that service done right here in Sioux Lookout. The more services that we can provide closer to home, the better; This C-arm does that and it’s a really good example of how we can now keep people in the community and not have to send them out.”
Commenting further on Skip to Equip’s fundraiser efforts, he stated, “We’re very appreciative of that. There’s no words I can use to describe how much money they’ve raised and the hard work that they put into raising this money for this equipment… It’s phenomenal the work they’ve done. It’s phenomenal how much they’ve raised… It’s absolutely incredible. We’re thankful every day for the work that they do.”
Laurel Hakala, chair of the Skip to Equip committee, shared, “I think everyone is pretty proud to be part of the event and how well it’s done.”
She said the fundraising event couldn’t have become the success it is without the support of community members and visitors to town who have participated in the event over the years, as well as the generous support of local and area businesses.
To date, in just eight years, the event has raised more than half a million dollars to support health care services at SLMHC.
Muriel Anderson, Skip to Equip committee member said, “Each year we ask the Foundation, through Rita (Demetzer, Foundation Treasurer) for suggestions and the C-arm came forward from Rita as an option.”
This year’s Ninth Annual Bearskin Airlines Skip to Equip Classic is fundraising to replace all of the IV pumps at the health centre. “We thought that was a good project because there’s not a family in the area that doesn’t at some time or another need an intravenous,”
Running from Nov. 8-10, this year’s Skip to Equip will take place at the Sioux Lookout Golf and Curling Club. The non-competitive, fun event will feature a commercials theme this year.
Participants interviewed in past years by The Bulletin, have mentioned they enjoyed the fun, social, and relaxed atmosphere of the event.
“It’s a women’s fun curling event in partnership with the hospital foundation to raise money for health care,” Skip to Equip committee member Natalie Popovic stated.
Teams from Sioux Lookout, across northwestern Ontario and even Winnipeg have taken part in the event over the years.
There is still an opportunity for ladies to register for this year’s Skip to Equip curling event.
Anderson said ladies don’t have to be experienced curlers to take part in the event, “We do offer a couple of evenings of instruction ahead of time, just so people have a little bit of an idea as to how to throw a rock and maybe a bit of a lesson on how to sweep.”
Teams of four to five women can register at email@example.com, or pick up a registration form from the Fresh Market Foods customer service counter.
Anyone who would like to know more about the event can contact Anderson at 737-8982.