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Hospital foundation seeks ventilators, respite for weary medics

The newest fundraiser for Langley Memorial targets needs of the COVID-19 crisis
Countless residents turned up to Langley Memorial Hospital to cheer the nurses, health care workers, and first responders in late March. (Langley Advance Times files)

Funding for equipment, and a place for weary doctors and nurses to sleep.

That’s what the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation is looking for right now, as it works to grapple with the changing demands of the coronavirus pandemic.

The foundation has launched a new fundraising campaign aimed at dealing with the needs of patients and doctors as Langley Memorial prepares for the possibility of COVID-19 cases.

In particular, the foundation would like to replace the five oldest ventilators at Langley Memorial, said Terra Scheer, a spokesperson for the foundation.

“We already had a need for life support ventilators,” Scheer noted.

In a normal year, up to 1,600 patients at LMH have respiratory issues.

New ventilators are not cheap.

“Each ventilator that we’re trying to raise money for is $58,000,” she said.

It would cost $290,000 to replace all of them – if the foundation can buy any.

Nations, provinces, states, and health care systems all over the world are scrambling to find or manufacture more ventilators to help more COVID-19 patients survive.

“Every hospital is in need right now,” Scheer said. “We are one of many.”

Beyond that goal, there are smaller things the foundation is trying to do to make the lives of patients at LMH better.

READ MORE: A delivery of thanks to Langley hospital workers battling COVID-19

Because of strict regulations on visitors to prevent the spread of the virus, people in hospital with normal ailments and injuries are isolated.

“They’re cut off from their loved ones,” said Scheer.

The foundation is looking at buying things like iPhones or tablets so people can videoconference with their friends and relatives while in isolation.

The foundation might also buy “comfort items” for the weary staff, including food.

But the biggest ask the foundation is making on behalf of doctors and nurses is for hotel rooms.

“We’re trying to find hotels that are looking to donate rooms to caregivers who need to stay overnight,” Scheer said.

Many nurses and doctors are at least partially isolating themselves from their families for the duration of the crisis.

“A lot of them have young kids at home, or they’re caring for their elders,” said Scheer.

They don’t want to unwittingly bring the coronavirus home.

So the foundation is looking for places where medical professionals who are on the front lines of the emergency can sleep for seven-night stays.

Scheer said the foundation is honoured that people are still donating when money is tight for many as the economy has taken a huge blow.

The foundation is not setting an official goal for the fundraiser because they do not want people to think they have ‘failed’ if they don’t meet it.

Donations to fundraising can be made on the foundation’s web page at Click the ‘coronavirus’ link at the top of the page.

To contact the foundation about hotel space, email or call 604-533-6422 and leave a message.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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