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A million reasons to be thankful

Dollars used to expand treatment and space

Members of the Auxiliary of Lakeridge Health Oshawa share a moment together after donating $1 million towards efforts to redevelop the hospital’s interventional radiology department. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Through the hard work and dedication of volunteers of the Auxiliary of Lakeridge Health Oshawa, the redevelopment of the hospital’s interventional radiology department has been given a $1 million boost.

According to Yves Gadler, CEO of the Lakeridge Health Foundation, the auxiliary’s donation is the “largest gift to this campaign of $5 million.”

Decked out in their blue uniforms, auxiliary members were the guests of honour during an event recognizing the donation on Oct. 5.

“Again, we take time to thank all the members of the auxiliary,” Gadler says. “They play such an integral role to the hospital, and this is just a further commitment.”

Helen Gulka, president of the auxiliary, says they welcomed the challenge.

“Naturally, we said yes and this is a wonderful opportunity for us and we are thrilled to build with the foundation and bring your total to $5 million.”

Interventional radiology (IR) is a medical procedure that uses minimally invasive, image-guided techniques to diagnose and treat health issues in nearly every organ system.

Helen Gulka, president of the Auxiliary of Lakeridge Health Oshawa, speaks during an event at the hospital recognizing the auxiliary’s $1 million donation to the hospital’s interventional radiology department. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

The procedure is used to shrink and eliminate tumours, stop dangerous bleeding, remove infection, take biopsies and insert feeding tubes, ports and fistulas for better comfort during treatments and end-of-life care.

However, Lakeridge Health Oshawa’s current IR space is highly cramped, featuring the smallest rooms of their kind in the nation.

The IR equipment currently used is 16 years old and does not include CT technology.

The proposed new space would include state-of-the art equipment, improved 3D imaging and CT images, a patient holding area, two main procedure rooms, two rooms for minor procedures and an ultrasound department.

Dr. Sean Galante, head of interventional radiology at Lakeridge Health Oshawa, says the new equipment would also reduce patient and staff exposure to radiation patients.

“[The new space] will basically allow us to do the procedures we already do, but faster and safer, while also allowing us capabilities to do a whole new realm of procedures that are all designed to improve patient outcomes and access,” Galante states.

Completion of the new IR facility is scheduled for some time in 2018.

Gulka noted that 10 years ago on the day, the auxiliary was donating another $1 million to Lakeridge’s cancer centre, and 100 years prior, $1,000 towards the construction of Oshawa General Hospital.