A $10,000 donation from Farm Credit’s AgriSpirit Fund has helped the Stettler Health Services Foundation purchase a new piece of equipment to help newborn infants in a medical setting.
Diane Palmer, site manager at the hospital, met with hospital foundation Treasurer Tom Campbell and Farm Credit’s Lowell Befus and Tina Wraight on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to showcase the resuscitation warmer, a.k.a. panda warmer, used for newborn babies.
The panda warmer, which is one of three owned by the hospital, has a heat lamp, health monitors, and several tools to help doctors to treat newborn babies, especially those in medical distress.
“All newborns end up (on the panda warmer),” Palmer said. “But the specialized units built into it are for resuscitation.”
The two older units owned by the hospital aren’t anywhere near as mobile or functional as the new one, according to Palmer.
“Every donation brings us closer to our goal,” Palmer said, explaining that while grants from the province help with capital costs, like repairing or modifying the physical building of the hospital, equipment purchases are made through money received from grants, donations and fundraising, like the $10,000 cheque cut by Farm Credit.
The money is necessary to bring Stettler’s hospital closer to cutting edge, as it’s quickly becoming a central and eastern Alberta hub hospital.
“Thirteen years ago, we had six physicians (at the hospital),” Palmer said. “Now we have 13.”
Surgical procedures are increasing at the hospital, and thanks to donations that have helped the hospital upgrade equipment over the years, the hospital is one of the only ones east of Red Deer that can do cesarean sections and epidurals during labour. This means the hospital draws people from as far away as the Saskatchewan border for births.
“We have about 200 births in the hospital every year,” Palmer noted, a high number for a community the size of Stettler.
“The part I like to hear about is that (the donation) helps the labour and delivery ward,” Befus said as he examined the specialized table.
In addition to being able to keep newborns warm and read vitals, the table rises and lowers to help physicians and nurses tend to the newborn, is equipped with specialized tools and has a special slat for x-ray plates so the baby can be x-rayed without leaving the table.
To date, the Affair of the Heart fundraising campaign run by the foundation has raised roughly half-a-million dollars for upgraded equipment at the hospital. Palmer and Campbell said to upgrade everything on the hospital’s list would cost about another million in contributions from the foundation – the remaining costs are picked up through grants and government funding.
“Farm Credit believes in its farmers and rural communities,” Befus said. “We’re glad to support the hospital.”