Registered nurses Peggy Graff and Laurel Stratulate

Registered nurses Peggy Graff and Laurel Stratulate

New equipment means more procedures at Stettler Hospital

New diagnostic equipment has been purchased by the Stettler Health Services Foundation for the local hospital, here in Stettler.

New diagnostic equipment purchased by the Stettler Health Services Foundation for the local hospital means more doctors are interested at working at the local health centre, according to foundation president Leona Thorogood.

Using $377,350 of money raised through its “An Affair for the Heart” campaign, which kicked off last October, the foundation purchased the first of several upgrades for its operating room. These improvements included new operating room lights, laparoscopy and endoscopy equipment, and a new high-definition monitor.

The installations took place earlier this year.

“We’ve been fortunate to have upgrades and add-ons to our operating room because of the fundraising and support from our community,” doctor Pieter Bouwer, an anesthetist and family physician in Stettler, said in a press release.

“We now have new, longer-lasting LED lights in our OR that are nice and bright, and won’t burn out right away,” he noted. “(Instead, the lights) start fading, letting us know when they need replacing.”

The condition of the two operating suites at the hospital were becoming outdated, Thorogood said, which, in turn, was turning doctors sour on the hospital facilities.

“A number of doctors wouldn’t come here to do procedures,” she said.

Upgrading the two suites was a major priority not only because of the many traffic collision victims routed here, but also because of the number of pregnancies the hospital tends to. With pregnancies come C-sections, and those can’t usually wait.

“When I started (with the foundation), I said I would not raise funds and sit on them,” Thorogood said. “As soon as we had them, we spent them.”

The foundation was counselled by doctors, nurses, hospital staff and an independent agency which compiled a report, noting what would need the most urgent upgrading. The foundation is using that to guide its hospital equipment purchases, Thorogood noted.

The next project for the foundation is a continued improvement of its Emergency Department and an upgrade of its outdated labour and delivery suites.

Currently, patients delivering a baby will spend their labour in their suite before being moved across the hospital to an operating room for labour itself, in case the delivery goes sideways and a C-section is necessary.

The new suites would be designed for that potential outcome and would be situated near the operating suite, which would allow women without complication to deliver their baby in their suite without having to disrupt the process with moving across the hospital.

The emergency department upgrades would handle upgrading the hospital’s emergency facilities. Designed in pre-computer times, the nurse station is not set up to make use of computers well and the space is awkward. New and larger equipment makes the emergency bays narrow and at times difficult for serious situations.

The next fundraising event happens at the end of September, when the foundation holds its Fun Run. For date and time, check the group’s Facebook page.