Hospital foundation launches latest fundraising campaign

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Elaine Smith, chair of the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation’s (SMHF) Let’s Not Miss A Beat campaign, and Andy Marr, SMHF chair, unveil the campain’s theme during a special launch ceremony last week. TOWER PHOTOS

SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation kicked off its annual fundraising campaign last week, urging the community to get behind its latest efforts to acquire new equipment that could help save their life or the life of a loved one.

The foundation has set a goal of $100,000 for this year’s Let’s Not Miss A Beat campaign, with funds going toward the purchase of a new cardiac monitoring system for the hospital’s busy emergency department.

Dr. Cathy Johnston, chief of emergency medicine at SMH, said a new cardiac monitoring system is urgently needed and will replace existing equipment that is more than 14 years old and has surpassed its life expectancy.

“It’s going to be an improvement I’m sure,” said Johnston during the campaign launch event last Thursday at the hospital atrium.

Johnston said there are a number of problematic issues with the existing system, including the fact that it alarms too frequently.

“I’m really looking forward to getting the new monitors,” she said, noting that a modern system will strengthen the medical staff’s ability to provide the best emergency care they can to patients in the community.

The cardiac monitoring system is a critical component in the ER, as it displays a patient’s vital signs including heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure.

The monitors can detect arrhythmias and any other significant cardiac developments as early as possible. Johnston said with many situations in the ER being time sensitive, it’s crucial for the medical team to have the ability to diagnose a patient’s condition quickly and accurately.

With the local hospital seeing on average four to five patients per day who require cardiac monitoring (approximately 1,450 patients per year), Johnston said the system is well used – from people who may be experiencing a heart attack or heart failure to those suffering from unstable heart arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm, pneumonia or other cardiac-related diseases or conditions.

Elaine Smith, chair of the SMHF campaign, appealed to local residents to throw their support behind the campaign, saying the community is blessed to have an amazing team of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals working in our ER.

“Let’s ensure they have the equipment they need to maintain the exceptional level of care they currently provide,” she said.

Smith said she is excited about the campaign, which will include a direct mail out, canvassing, a staff campaign, and special fundraising events.

In fact, the campaign has already got off to a good start despite only officially being unveiled last week. With a $20,000 donation from the Sackville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary handed over during the campaign launch, the foundation is now a third of the way to reaching its goal, as $15,000 had already been raised before the launch.

Foundation chair Andy Marr said past campaigns have been tremendously successful, with more than $400,000 raised in the last five years thanks to community support, and expects this time to be no different.

“Our goal, as a foundation, is to offer the best equipment for you, your family, your friends . . . our goal is to do it right and to do it well. But we can’t meet those needs without all of you,” said Marr.

To donate, drop by the front office of the hospital, call the foundation at 364-4204 or online at www.smhf.ca.

Athough the goal of the campaign is set at $100,000, the cardiac monitoring system has a pricetag of $135,000. Smith said the balance will come from the Horizon Health Network and from donations previously received.

The new system is expected to be on site and operational later this year. It will consist of four monitors – three of which are at each bedside in the ER observation room; and the other in the trauma room. All monitors are connected to the main monitor in the ER nurses station.

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