Langley Memorial Hospital Dr. David Chapman said the best part of his job is delivering babies.
The worst part of his job is telling a woman in labour that she can’t deliver her baby in Langley because the maternity ward is full.
“Last week we had a very full maternity ward,” said Chapman. “Two ladies in labour came in to deliver their babies and there was nowhere to put them. The prospect was to send them to Chilliwack.”
Instead, the maternity ward staff scrambled and moved two women, who had just delivered babies, to recovery rooms so the ward could accommodate the women in labour.
This all points to the vital need for the new and expanded maternity ward currently under construction at LMH.
The “Vandekerkhove Family Maternity Centre” got a healthy boost from family-run Langley Chrysler on Tuesday.
Langley Chrysler presented a cheque for $100,000 to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation’s “It All Starts Here” campaign, earmarked for the maternity ward expansion.
“The key point for us, and what is important to our staff, is that we are all at a similar age of having kids and raising a family here in Langley, so to give back to the hospital that has taken care of us is a big dream come true,” said Langley Chrysler CEO and president Mike Trotman. He presented the cheque to the Foundation along with his brothers Mitch and Brad.
The Langley Chrysler staff have been fundraising for the LMH Foundation since 2006. In that time they have raised $18,000 that has contributed to purchasing equipment for the maternity ward, said Trotman. They have done this by having a jeans day and barbecue on the last Friday of every month.
With Langley Chrysler’s donation, the Foundation is $2 million away from reaching the $11.66 million price tag for the expansion.
When the hospital first opened in 1948, 11 beds for the 85 babies born there each year was sufficient. But today, the number of births has increased by more than 2,000 per cent to 1,800 per year. The number of beds has increased by just two. There are now 13.
The number of yearly births is expected to continue to rise to 2,300 over the next seven years.
In response, Fraser Health has committed $6.31 million towards an $11.66 million expansion.
Support from the community has been amazing, said Kate Ludlam, senior donor relations officer for the Foundation.
“When you look at the donors, like the Trotmans, the Omelaniecs, the Vandekerkhoves, they have such deep roots here in Langley. I think for many this is very personal because this is where they live, where their children were born,” said Ludlam on Tuesday.
Chapman and Ludlam said they will “keep pushing,” excusing the pun, for more donations to reach out for $3 million more that is needed.
The expansion will allow for seven new beds, which can accommodate up to 600 more births, and will see the relocation of the maternity clinic from the other end of the hospital to the new maternity ward, a new post-anesthetic recovery unit, an expanded nursery and additional on-call rooms for student doctors.
Those interesting can visit the LMHF website, www.lmhfoundation.com, call the office at 604-534-4121, or visit them at LMH.