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Year in Review: Langley’s new ER opens after record-smashing fundraising campaign

The construction re-built the hospital for a growing community
The ER nurses, doctors, and medical technicians at Langley Memorial Hospital in front of the mural on the new admitting bay. The ER opened at the beginning of May after years of fundraising and construction. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Two long-awaited upgrades to Langley Memorial Hospital opened in 2021, with both the expanded emergency room and a new MRI clinic taking patients starting in the spring.

The ER began taking patients with little fanfare on Tuesday, May 4.

The expanded ER increased the number of patient treatment bays from 31 to 49, and added a second trauma bay to the one that existed in the old ER.

There is now a separate pediatric waiting area for children, and a new entrance separates walk-in patients from ambulance arrivals.

Finally, a dedicated, separate treatment area is set aside for patients with mental health and substance abuse needs.

Additional handwashing stations, a decontamination room, and an isolation room reduce the risk of infection.

The upgraded and expanded ER replaces a decades-old facility that Langley had long since outgrown.

The project was years in the works.

The ER expansion was first announced in 2017, when it was a $30 million project, with Fraser Health contributing just over $20 million and the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation pledging to raise $10 million.

Donors like Maria Martini, Allan Skidmore, and Manjit Gill – this year’s H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year – gave major donations. It took a surprisingly short amount of time for the campaign to pass $7 million, and it added a planned new MRI to the scope of the project and increased its goal to $15 million, – which it still exceeded.

While the foundation got busy raising money from donors big and small, the provincial government changed, and in 2019, increased the budget substantially.

Health Minister Adrian Dix visited Langley memorial to both kick off the first phase of construction, and to announce that the government would be kicking in $29.32 million.

The new MRI clinic opened early – managing to bring in its first few patients in December of 2020, but it hit its stride in early 2021.

It was officially declared open in January, by which time it had already scanned 500 patients.

According to LMH executive director, the clinic was expected to do 7,500 scans a year. Having an MRI in Langley Memorial means that patients who need an MRI while they’re at the hospital won’t have to be taken to another community and then returned, and locals needing an outpatient scan will also be able to cut down on travel time.

Adding the new MRI was also expected to help slash wait times for MRIs in general in the Lower Mainland.

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Langley Memorial Hospital’s new MRI suite ramped up to full operations on Jan. 4, providing patients with care and diagnosis in one location.

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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