Auxiliary has paid off lab equipment

The St. Joseph’s Healthcare Auxiliary has been able to pay for its investment into the hospital’s laboratory in a much quicker fashion than expected.

Members of the auxiliary presented a cheque for $80,588.60 to the hospital on Wednesday during the auxiliary’s annual Christmas tea and bake sale. They have now paid off their commitment to the lab, and can begin work on their next project – the purchase of beds for long-term care.

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Sharon Heinz, who is a past-president for the auxiliary, said she was “flabbergasted” that the auxiliary was able to pay for the lab in such a short amount of time.

“The people of Estevan are just so extremely generous. It’s amazing how generous they can be,” said Heinz.

The auxiliary embarked on the project to upgrade the lab in October 2017. The upgrades carried a price tag of $124,000. Their purchase included two incubators for microbiology, one hematology analyzer, two electrocardiograph machines and one fridge.

They were able to pay for the laboratory equipment thanks to their annual allocation as a United Way Estevan member agency, and they held fundraisers such as their raffle and their tea and bake sales, which made a big difference. But they also received a series of undisclosed donations from an anonymous and generous supporter of the auxiliary. 

President Marlene Shurygalo said the donations of all sizes, and some of their other efforts and the support of the United Way allowed them to pay for the lab equipment so quickly.

Hospital CEO Greg Hoffort praised the auxiliary for their promptness in paying for the laboratory upgrades. He noted the auxiliary has started taking on more ambitious projects in recent years, and he hopes they will continue to enjoy the community’s support.

He called the laboratory a very underrated aspect of the hospital’s operations. Now St. Joseph’s has a lab that is “second to none.”

“It is such a critical part of our hospital because truly, without it, we close the hospital,” said Hoffort. “We can do virtually nothing without it.”

It might not be a place where patients go, or a place where doctors spend a lot of time, but it is as important as any facet of St. Joseph’s.

The next focus for the auxiliary will be the long-term care area, with the purchase of 20 beds for one of the wings in long-term care.

“Greg gave us a list of three projects to choose from, and we went with the one we thought would bring comfort to the residents. Let’s hope this continued success will always be the norm,” said Shurygalo.

Some of the beds in long-term care were purchased when the hospital opened in 1991, so they are 26 or 28 years old, and need to be replaced. While the hospital has replaced the mattresses, other parts of the beds need to be replaced, including the nurse-call system, the brakes and the ability to raise and lower the bed, which all play a big role in the comfort of the resident.

“This gives us the ability to do something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but more importantly, it is so very important for the residents in their home to have that comfort,” said Hoffort.

Those beds will cost $5,000 each.

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