Stethoscopes symbolized the medical equipment that the Denim & Diamonds gala will help buy for Langley Memorial Hospital.

Gala guests buy up surgical equipment

Tools making a real difference in OR: Doc.

Hospital donors were given a chance to perform surgery Saturday night, with some amazing results.

It’s fair to say “the patient” was saved thanks to the curiosity and generosity of the 320 guests at the Denim & Diamonds hospital gala Saturday night, said Vivian Smith, executive director of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

A corner of the Cascades Casino ballroom was transformed into a mock operating room (OR), where event participants were given a chance to try their hand at surgery and touch, feel, and buy much needed surgical tools for the hospital.

Last fall, the LMH foundation offered a number of donors a behind-the-scenes tour of the hospital, allowing them to see first-hand where their contributions were going, including the OR.

Realizing how important it was for donors to touch and see what their dollars were going to, spawned the idea for a mock OR at the gala, Smith explained.

“It was so well received by the donors,” she added.

“I’m never surprised by the generosity of the people in this community,” but Smith said she was a little shocked and delighted by the reaction to the OR and the equipment purchase that brought in close to $46,000.

It’s fair, Smith clarified, to say the mock operating room will be part of the foundation galas in future.

Backed by most of the surgical staff, chief of surgery Dr. Mitra Maharaj spoke at Saturday’s gala about the need for the equipment.

“We know the right equipment can make the difference between a patient going back home to their family and friends in a few days, lingering in hospital for weeks, or not leaving hospital at all,” he said.

“We as a surgical department are so grateful to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation for helping to address this critical need for surgical and diagnostic equipment.”

For those who were unable to donate at the gala, donations of the foundation are accepted year-round by calling 604-533-6422 or visiting

Surgeon pleads the case

Dr. Maharaj’s speech helped motivate the sell-out crowd to give generously Saturday:

When I first came to Langley over 12 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect.

I had spent the previous 13 years in post secondary education training to be a surgeon.

I had worked in large hospitals in Vancouver and Edmonton, honed my surgical technique, passed all my exams, and felt ready to start my career.

But all of that training, all of that studying, it doesn’t really prepare you for that first time someone walks into your office as a patient.

The sense of trust from a mother bringing you her sick child and asking for your help to make him well; the overwhelming responsibility when that child is asleep on an operating table in front of you, and there is no supervisor looking over your shoulder telling you what to do.

That feeling of pride when that same mother approaches you weeks later in the grocery store to express her gratitude and describe how well her child is doing thanks to the care that you provided.

That experience builds a sense of community unlike any other. That sense of caring for one another, taking responsibility for each other’s well being, trusting someone else when you are frightened and in dire need of help.

My son was born in Langley Memorial Hospital. I have brought him there when he was sick – when I felt frightened and powerless – and I feel that same gratitude to the physicians and nurses who helped make him well again.

That sense of community is at the heart and soul of Langley Memorial.

It is a hospital that is large enough to provide the vast majority of the services and care that are needed by every patient who walks through the emergency room doors, and small enough that I can walk down the hallways and greet the staff by name, enquire after their children, and be sincerely interested in their upcoming vacation plans.

We have accomplished great things at LMH, particularly in the surgical program.

We were the first hospital in Canada to use an innovative new product to drastically reduce post surgical urinary tract infections. We have lead the way in the province in reducing length of stay and post operative complications after colorectal surgery.

We manage our resources responsibly and have some of the shortest surgical wait times in the health authority.

Unfortunately, having highly trained physicians, dedicated and compassionate nurses, and an experienced, caring team of allied healthcare professionals isn’t enough.

Particularly in surgical care, we are highly dependent on the equipment we use in order to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.

We know the right equipment can make the difference between a patient going back home to their family and friends in a few days, lingering in hospital for weeks, or not leaving hospital at all.

We as a surgical department are so grateful to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation for helping to address this critical need for surgical and diagnostic equipment.

I am proud to say that every single surgeon and anesthesiologist working at our hospital is here tonight, or if they couldn’t be here, they have made a donation in support of the foundation.

Our surgical community, our surgical family, is united in recognizing the pivotal role the foundation and its partners play in giving our community access to the latest technology and the best equipment.

People older and wiser than I have told me that life can be full of regrets and missed opportunities, that the key to having a successful and happy life lies in recognizing those moments when they are in front of you and taking advantage of them.

Well, this is your opportunity to choose to make a difference for yourself, for your family, and for your community. By donating to the foundation tonight, you are joining the surgical family at LMH.

You are stepping forward as a member of this community and making a statement that you, too, are committed to making our hospital even stronger, ensuring we have the equipment we need to take care of every member of our community who comes to us when they are in their time of greatest need.

As surgeons, we don’t want to have regrets. We don’t ever want to think, “If only we had had that other piece of equipment, we might have been able to do better for this patient.”

With your help, we will never have to face that awful situation.

So please take this opportunity to support the foundation and donate to our hospital tonight.

By putting the best equipment in our hands, you are ensuring that we will deliver the best care to every member of our community.

Request paid dividends

When the dust settled after Saturday’s gala, the mock OR had been packed up, and the tools (many supplied for the gala by ConMed Supplies) returned to their rightful spots, the benefits of the tactile experience were measured in actual dollars.

For instance, the following pieces were purchased:

• 3 Long Babcock clamps at $35 each

• 2 Laparoscopic needle drivers at $1,879 each

• A 10mm laparoscope at $3,299

• 2 Wolfe suction irrigator at $2,970 each

• A 32” LED monitor at $5,642

• A touch screen monitor at $2,740

• A camera head at $9,620

• 2 ankle arthroscope sets at $5,850 each

• A Weitlander retractor at $100

• A microfracture awl (heavy duty) at $649

• A small joint probe at $289

• A laparoscopic grasper forcep (gynecology) at $1,100


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