Stuart Lake Hospital on the road to receiving new transport ventilator

Fort St. James is in need of a new transport ventilator and the Metis Nation New Caledonia Society is determined to make it happen.

  • Jan. 25, 2017 5:00 p.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

Fort St. James is in need of a new transport ventilator and the Metis Nation New Caledonia Society is determined to make it happen.

“We are about a third way there,” said Metis Matriarch, June Heddon.

“But we need more support because this is something that can save lives and something that benefits everyone. You never know when you will need it.”

In September, Fort St. James Mayor and Council decided to support the Registered Status of this grant application and have since approved the flow of funds through the District accounts on behalf of the Metis Nation of New Caledonia.

“We knew we wanted to support something that was needed in the community and after asking around, this was a definite priority,” Heddon said.

People who are placed on ventilators cannot breathe on their own.

Respiratory health conditions are one of many issues that affect people of all ages. Difficulty breathing can also occur during post-surgery recovery or may be the result of acute illness or injury.

When necessary to transport a patient by ambulance, a portable ventilator would be invaluable to both patient and to the health care worker accompanying them.

“About 35 people used the service last year so there is a need in the community,” Heddon said.

According to Dr. Peter VanZyl from Stuart Lake Hospital, the current ventilator is out of date and a new one is necessary in order to benefit patient care in Fort St. James.

“The old one leaks, it comes in three pieces and is very heavy to transport,” VanZyl said.

The new HMA-161006 (02) Transport Ventilator supports performance of a fully featured ICU ventilator, it’s approved for use in ambulances, helicopters and airplanes, it provides adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilation, and it is small, portable and easy to use.

This ventilator has been recommended by the Fort St. James Medical Team and Northern Health Authority as being a compact, powerful, cost effective ICU ventilation solution that’s appropriate for all patients and will ensure the most appropriate treatment while providing optimum care for every patient.

And for the Metis Nation of New Caledonia, raising enough to support this cause is worth every minute.

“In the end, this could save lives. We have to support this,” Heddon said.

The Metis Nation New Caledonia Society became a non-profit Society in 2015. The group has been actively engaged and been present in Fort St. James since 1998.

It continues to run with various community partners including Vanderhoof, Fort Fraser and Burns Lake to promote the advancement and interests of the Metis people and to work with other aboriginal and Metis organizations.

And the Metis Nation of New Caledonia Society is partnering with the Fort St. James Primary Care Society to help support the health initiative of a new transport ventilator.

The healthcare workers and facilities in Fort St. James care for approximately 4500 people in the greater Fort St. James area including: Fort St. James and Regional District Bulkley Nechako Area C. It also associated unincorporated communities including: Germanson Landing, Leo Creek, Trembleur, Manson Creek.

First Nation communities include: Nak’azdli Whut’en, Tl’azt’en Nation, Middle River, Binche Key oh, Takla Lake First Nation and Yekooche Fort Nation.

This new ventilator could be life saving for all patient populations.

Stuart Lake Hospital does not have an intensive care unit which means that there will always be a need to transport critically ill patients outside of town.

For Health care workers at Stuart Lake Hospital, this equipment can ensure peace of mind knowing that they are well equipped with reliable life-saving equipment that is valuable to a rural hospital in any traumatic medical situation.

“We have good doctors. We need to support them,” Heddon said.

The cost of the transport Ventilator is $48,160 including taxes.

So far, about $16,000 has been raised.

For anyone who would like to donate, please make your cheque payable to: The District of Fort St. James and include the word “ventilator” at the bottom of the cheque.

Tax receipts will be provided.