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Kitimat hospital lands CT Tech with big donations

Combined $1.4 million from LNG Canada and Max Lange Foundation tips fundraising goal
Northern Health representative Edwin Empinado celebrates one of two windfall donations to the Kitimat Gneral Hospital Foundation. Left to right: LNG Canada’s Heather Taylor and Joanne Spencer, KGHE president Laurel D’Andrea, Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, Empinado, KGHF executive director Cynthia Medeiros and KGHF volunteer Michelle Wakita.

Two substantial donations have enabled the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation (KGHF) to successfully conclude its fundraising campaign for a CT Scanner.

During the foundation’s annual gala on Sept. 23, the Max Lange Foundation pledged $500,000 to the project, while LNG Canada surprised attendees with a contribution of an additional $900,000. This welcomed announcement followed Northern Health’s confirmation just two days prior to include the Kitimat General Hospital as part of the health authority’s medical Imaging Strategy. Coupled with the financial support from residents and businesses, KGHF has onw met the financial requirements necessary for the CT scanner purchase, valued at about $1.3 million plus a suite of vital accessory equipment.

The generosity of both the Max Lange Foundation and LNG Canada comes with the stipulation that the CT scan must be installed and operational within the next 18 months.

In response, Northern Health’s health service administrator, Jonathan Cooper, said a business case is already being prepared for the necessary hospital renovations to accommodate the new equipment.

Cynthia Medeiros, executive director for the hospital foundation, said there is evidence doctors have declined positions at the hospital because they don’t feel “safe” diagnosing some patients without a CT scanner. Use of the device at Terrace’s Mills Memorial Hospital is also an inadequate compromise, as patient transfer is dependent on a number of issues, including road conditions, ambulance availability and patient mobility.

With the money now in place, the only hurdle left to clear is Northern Health’s follow through on the renovations before the 18-month deadline.

“We already have a very strong digital imaging department who know how to operate the CT; we already have a space reserved for the CT. All we need now is the renovations to be able to install it.”

Medeiros emphasized that purchases of top-of-the-line equipment like the CT scan more than improves healthcare for Kitimatians, but also creates an environment that attracts and retains the best healthcare professionals.

Overall, the gala raised $1.6 million toward 20 projects spearheaded by the KGHF, ranging from the acquisition of advanced medical equipment, enhancements to hospital facilities, and support for healthcare professionals.

Jason Klein, LNG Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, expressed his company’s commitment to strengthening local infrastructure and enhancing community welfare. “Raising funds for this critical new medical equipment is something LNG Canada has been proud to support, and we applaud the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation, the Max Lange Foundation, community members, and our industry neighbors and colleagues for their combined efforts in the fulfillment of a significant fundraising goal.”

Meanwhile, organizers described the event as a” beacon of hope and ambition,” uniting community leaders, healthcare professionals, and compassionate individuals whose donations are a testament to the support for healthcare providers and first responders.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to every single person that donated to the foundation, purchased a ticket or a table, donated an auction item or gave of their time so generously,” Laurel D’Andrea, KGHF president said. “Their contributions have enabled us to celebrate our heroes and advance healthcare services in Kitimat.”