Your Health Matters fall 2021

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ROYAL COLUMBIAN HOSPITAL FOUNDATION MAGAZINE

Your Health Matters FALL/WINTER 2021 EDITION

IN THIS ISSUE

+ HEAVY WAVE Personal accounts from caregivers during a challenging third wave of COVID-19

+ MENTAL HEALTH AND THE PANDEMIC COVID-19 has led to a wide range of mental health concerns

+ YOUR IMPACT The latest examples of how donor dollars have helped

+ SETTING THE BAR Introducing the Foundation’s new board chair

THIS MAGAZINE BROUGHT TO YOU WITH GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM


INTO THE FUTURE The summer months have reintroduced a sense of hope and optimism in this part of the world following a year and a half of challenging times globally. While the virus that causes COVID-19 is expected to remain with us long-term, vaccines have provided us with a level of protection that has allowed our hospitals, including Royal Columbian, to come back from the record high number of hospitalizations seen this past spring. In this edition of Your Health Matters, we look back at the difficult third wave by hearing directly from those who have fought against COVID-19 since the pandemic began. In addition, we bring in Royal Columbian’s Head of Psychiatry to explore mental health during the pandemic. And we share the account of one grateful patient who required intensive care because of COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, our donors have helped us support our caregivers as they faced COVID-19 with resolve and compassion. At the same time, we continue to support Royal Columbian’s major $1.49 billion redevelopment, now into phase 2. We hope you will get excited about what is to come as you look through our special collage of images of the Acute Care Tower now under construction. And our annual Report to Donors is always an opportunity to learn how philanthropy makes a difference. Finally, we would like to take the opportunity to recognize our former board chair Tom Corsie, whose term as chair has wrapped up. Tom, who continues to serve on our board, was at the helm as we navigated through the pandemic, saw record years of growth in donations, and celebrated the opening of the new Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre and the start of construction of the Acute Care Tower. As a result, we are wellpositioned for a bright future.

Cameron Belsher

Chair, Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation

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Jeff Norris

President & CEO, Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation


CONTENTS

Your Health Matters

VOLUME 7 • ISSUE 2

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jeff Norris EDITOR/WRITER Jason Howe CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kim Peacock CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Simon Hayter Dr. Paula Meyler Jerald Walliser LAYOUT & DESIGN Gary Slavin COVER DESIGN Paula Heal PUBLISHED BY New Westminster Record

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Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation Board of Directors Chair: Cameron Belsher Vice Chair: Norm Taylor Treasurer: Catherine Ruby Secretary: Jennifer Podmore Russell President and CEO: Jeff Norris Directors: Hema Bhatt, Dr. Sukh Brar, John Clinton, Tom Corsie, Farid Rohani, Dr. William Siu, Emily Taylor, Rana Vig, Fred Withers

We welcome your comments on Your Health Matters magazine. Please email info@rchfoundation.com or write to us c/o Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, 330 East Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 3W7. Established in 1978, Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation raises millions of dollars annually to purchase medical equipment, fund innovative programs, and support training and research. To donate, please visit www.rchfoundation.com or call 604-520-4438.

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Greetings

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Inspired giving

Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation Chair Cameron Belsher and Foundation President and CEO Jeff Norris

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Personal accounts from caregivers during a challenging third wave of COVID-19

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Tech-savvy

Philanthropist inspires with ‘Live to Give and Do Good’ approach

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Ahead by a foot

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Setting the bar

Mental health and the pandemic COVID-19 has led to a wide range of mental health concerns

Your impact

The latest examples of how donor dollars have helped

One-four-three

Sick with COVID-19, Abbotsford man writes loving message to daughter from ICU bed

Behind-the-scenes briefs

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Heavy wave

A surgeon’s approach to clubfoot changes the world for newborns with the deformity Introducing the Foundation’s new board chair

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INSPIRED GIVING Following the opening last summer of the Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre, Royal Columbian Hospital’s $1.49 billion multi-year redevelopment is now focused on construction of a new 10-storey Acute Care Tower. This transformative addition will include an interventional super floor with operating rooms and interventional radiology and cardiology suites, a new Emergency Department with a satellite imaging unit, new and larger maternity, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units, and multiple floors for acute and critical care patients. Shown are some artist renderings of the concept for the new Acute Care Tower that is scheduled to open in 2025.

Above: Operating Room.

Above: Intensive Care Unit.

Above: Then Foundation chair Tom Corsie took part in a groundbreaking ceremony on February 26, 2021 to mark the start of construction of the Acute Care Tower.

Above: Emergency triage.

Above: Lobby

Above: Concept for Acute Care Tower, to open in 2025. Right: Overhead view of concept for Acute Care Tower next to Royal Columbian’s Columbia Tower building. For the latest Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation news, follow us:

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By subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter at www.rchfoundation.com

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On Instagram: www.instagram.com/ royalcolumbian


Tech-savvy Philanthropist inspires with ‘Live to Give and Do Good’ approach

When Jack Gin founded Extreme CCTV in 1997, his vision was to develop innovative technology to see what the human eye could not, at high speed, in complete darkness, and under seemingly impossible conditions. Under Jack’s leadership, Extreme CCTV helped establish a new standard in a digital world, providing information and security to some of the world’s largest organizations. When he sold his company in 2009, his success allowed him to move on to his next chapter, while his passion for applying optics to help others remained within his DNA. He realized he could help doctors - including those at RCH - see more accurately through the purchase of scopes and data acquisition devices, making those processes faster,

less invasive, and less costly. “Giving, no matter how big or small, is a privilege, not a duty,” says Jack. “I am extremely privileged in my life to be retired and healthy and have the opportunity to help in the best way I can.” From those seeds, the Jack Gin Emergency & Trauma Imaging Centre (GINETIC) was born. To save a life, the hospital’s clinical team needs to understand all the factors at play with rapid access to the very best in imaging technology. The Emergency Department (ER) at Royal Columbian is one of the most highly utilized in the province with more than 75,000 visits a year. GINETIC will be strategically placed within a new ER, a key element of an Acute Care Tower

now under construction as part of Royal Columbian’s redevelopment. It will significantly speed up access to diagnostic procedures and house cutting-edge imaging technology. Future patients who receive care at Royal Columbian will be treated faster, recover more quickly, and be able to return home to their families sooner. “Currently, a trauma patient who needs a CT scan must be brought from the ER to the Medical Imaging Department – and the patient must be stable to do so,” says Trauma Physician Dr. Feisal Mohamedali. “With GINETIC right inside the ER, we’ll be able to continue resuscitation and shorten the window for diagnostic procedures. In trauma, when we save minutes, we save lives.” Saving those minutes, and those lives, is what drives Jack to give. His mission is to inspire others with his personal motto - Live to Give and Do Good. “After all,” he says, “we are all in this together, and we survive and thrive together. Community is about supporting each other and having each others’ backs.”

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Mental health and the pandemic

COVID-19 has led to a wide range of mental health concerns Even if you allow yourself permission to imagine a return to pre-pandemic life, the complete story of the global COVID-19 toll on society will likely not emerge for a while still. This includes the full effect on our mental health stemming from the anxiety, fear, isolation, financial hardship, and other stressors felt by many since early 2020. “Based on other epidemics or natural disasters, it usually took a few years for those mental health presentations to go back to a normal level after the end of those crises,” observes Dr. Janel Casey, Royal Columbian Hospital’s Head of the Department of Psychiatry. “I do think it will gradually get better over time.”

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Not surprisingly, the pandemic has been at the forefront of the care Dr. Casey and other mental health providers have delivered in the last year and a half. A significant number of patients that Dr. Casey has seen have been associating their current mental health challenges with COVID-19. “It comes up very frequently when you are getting their history,” says Dr. Casey.

Mental health dialogue While the pandemic has been a global preoccupation, and there has been an increased dialogue about mental health throughout this crisis, the number of psychiatric admissions to the Fraser

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Health region’s hospitals has not changed substantially during the first year. Between March 2020 and January 2021, bed occupancy remained relatively stable with 9,111 admissions to Mental Health and Substance Use inpatient psychiatric beds, compared to 9,164 admissions during the same period the previous year. But this includes notable decreases in visits to hospitals during the first months of 2020, when people were selfisolating. “Same as all areas of medicine, we saw a lack of referrals for a few months at the very beginning of the pandemic,”


TOP: The new Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre opened at Royal Columbian Hospital in July 2020 with the support of Foundation donors. recalls Dr. Casey. “Since then, the numbers have gradually continued to increase. We are seeing a lot more referrals coming through the hospital and our outpatient department. We are providing many of our outpatient assessments via videoconferencing during the pandemic.” And the range of mental health concerns is broad. “We see more depression and anxiety, but also crisis situations where people are struggling with school, isolation, family and inter-personal difficulties, and the consequences of trying to cope in unhealthy ways like drinking more alcohol or using drugs,” says Dr. Casey. She notes a concerning rise in depression and suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. “They are not going into class in person as much, and they don’t have the same extracurricular activities,” says Dr. Casey. “Then of course they are just not getting social activities in general, such as going out with friends, birthday parties, and other celebrations.” Once someone is admitted to hospital for mental health care, the challenge becomes how to help them return to their communities when the usual supports may no longer be readily accessible. “It’s hard to discharge them back to their same socially isolated housing situation,” she notes. “And it’s also hard because a lot of the services have changed the way in which they work, understandably.”

Moving day One welcome development in 2020 was the psychiatry department’s move from the now-demolished Sherbrooke Centre building to the new Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre, which donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation have supported.

Dr. Janel Casey, Royal Columbian Hospital’s Head of the Department of Psychiatry.

Originally scheduled to open in April 2020, the $258.9 million facility was instead one of two buildings identified by the province as being available should our healthcare system become overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 cases. As BC successfully flattened the curve that spring, the mental health centre finally opened to patients in July 2020. Dr. Casey says the feedback has been largely positive. “They really like the large private rooms with en suite bathroom. They like having more common space, and they also really love the outdoor balconies,” she notes. For caregivers, it’s already hard to imagine how they managed in their

former facilities. As they continue to adjust to their new homes, they also wonder what the next year will bring as the pandemic moves into whatever its next phase will be. “For all of us who are alive now, this is a completely new situation that we have never experienced before, so we will learn a lot.” People of all ages can call the 24/7 Fraser Health Crisis Line (604-9518855 or toll-free at 1-877-820–7444) if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, mental health problems, substance use issues, family violence, abuse, relationship conflicts, or loss.

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YOUR IMPACT:

your gift is critical to the care we provide

With the help of donors like you in 2020-21, Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation has been able to purchase equipment for a number of hospital departments, including the following.

Boxes of Pfizer vaccine are ready to be transferred to Royal Columbian Hospital refrigerators during the early part of the country’s vaccine rollout.

Cold Storage BC’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in December 2020 and to date has largely relied on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Recommended storage temperature is -70 C, which presents storage challenges. Royal Columbian Hospital took an early leadership role in the vaccine rollout because of its access to the infrastructure and expertise needed to manage the delivery and distribution of the vials. As shipments of vaccine increased in the early months of 2021, the Foundation purchased another specialized refrigerator for the hospital’s lab to assist with proper storage. This allowed for ideal management of the supply and supported distribution to a significant portion of Fraser Health.

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Nutritional needs in critical care Dietitians are an essential part of the health care team in critical care and provide nutrition support in the Intensive Care Unit for mechanically ventilated patients using artificial nutrition. Donors have helped to fund the current ‘gold standard’ equipment to accurately determine the energy requirements of these patients. The indirect calorimetry machine helps ensure patients are receiving adequate nutrition and has been used in the management of COVID-19 patients during the pandemic in other hospitals. The equipment will help improve outcomes and reduce ventilator days and infection rates in critical care.

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The indirect calorimetry machine helps ensure critically ill patients receive proper nutrition.

Breast cancer locator The hospital is now using new, first-inBC technology to pinpoint certain breast cancers. Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) uses tiny metal radioactive “seeds” about the size of a grain of rice that are implanted into tumours that can’t be seen or felt. These seeds guide the surgeon to precisely locate the tumours and provide more comfort for the patient. Prior to the introduction of these seeds, a patient would need to have a fine wire inserted into the breast on the day of the surgery. With the wire protruding from the breast, the patient would then travel to various departments and ultimately to the OR. Royal Columbian is the first centre in BC to use this seed technology. It can be placed up to a week before the procedure, mitigating issues with same day scheduling Radioactive Seed and providing Localization uses less stress for seeds that are the patient and about the size of their family of a grain of rice, going to multiple as seen here next departments in to a coin, to help one day. surgeons locate tumours in the breast.

Intricate repairs As one of the province’s two major adult trauma centres, Royal Columbian Hospital performs emergency complex surgeries on patients who have suffered major traumatic injuries. These surgeries may involve plastic surgeons, who need specialized tools to carry out microsurgical reconstruction, used to fix large wounds and defects resulting from trauma as well as cancer. New microsurgical instruments, including microsurgical vessel clamps, are making microsurgical reconstruction safer, faster, and more reliable. Venous


Plastic surgeon Dr. Colin McInnes shows the microsurgical instruments purchased with help from donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation.

couplers to connect veins together are also reducing operating room time, reducing patients’ risk of blood clots, and reducing the need for re-operation.

Cancer diagnosis Royal Columbian plays a critical role in cancer care and diagnosis. With donor support, our laboratory has now acquired an essential piece of equipment to support their ongoing work in cancer diagnosis – a ThinPrep 5000 Processor, which allows for the practice of liquid cytology. This platform is the industry standard for most cytology laboratories in North America and beyond. Introducing liquid cytology helps to greatly reduce waiting times for patients and enhance the diagnostic care quality. Patients can receive a diagnosis much more rapidly after a biopsy with liquid cytology than through conventional methods – and this modernization allows our pathologists to perform genetic testing for cancer. Furthermore, this platform

New software helps the hospital’s Acute Stroke Team decide how best to treat cases.

preserves sampled cells and prevents unnecessary repeat biopsies, thus preventing delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Stroke imaging Our stroke care team now has an innovative tool for the detection, classification, and risk evaluation of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. The Rapid neuroimaging platform provides physicians with real-time, high-quality images of blood flow in the brain to help them make optimal treatment decisions for our stroke patients. RCH is

the cornerstone of a 24/7 Acute Stroke Team designed for fast, centralized and comprehensive stroke support for stroke patients.

Cuddle care Hyperbilirubinemia is common in newborns. A build up of bilirubin in the blood causes yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin, called jaundice. While low levels of bilirubin are not usually a concern, large amounts may cause seizures and brain damage. BILI-THERAPY Pad Type delivers effective phototherapy for the treatment from the back of the newborn. The Foundation has provided funding for two of these devices, which allow the baby to breastfeed or cuddle without interruption to the phototherapy. BILI-THERAPY Pad Type provides phototherapy to treat jaundice in newborns.

The ThinPrep 5000 Processor helps patients receive a diagnosis much more rapidly after a biopsy and allows our pathologists to perform genetic testing for cancer.

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After a strong second wave of the pandemic that saw as many as 381 people with COVID-19 in provincial hospitals on January 6, 2021, an even stronger third wave pushed totals all the way to 515 people in hospitals on April 28. We caught up with a few of our caregivers less than a month later amid declining but still high numbers.

Dr. Feisal Mohamedali, Regional Department Head, Anesthesiology: When the pandemic started, we had no idea what to expect, and we had to create new protocols and processes for something that none of us had seen before. At the end of 2020, everyone in healthcare and surgical services was tired. However, there was also a sense of hope with the announcement of the vaccines.

Sheila Finamore, Executive Director: At the end of 2020, we saw the initiation of a robust vaccine program unlike any we have ever experienced before. This generated a significant amount of excitement and a sense of hope, optimism, and a signal that we might be closer to the end of our pandemic response.

Carmen Juba, Registered Nurse, ICU: I felt frustrated with how long and challenging the last year had been, but was really hoping 2021 would be better. I was sad I didn’t get to meet my friend’s babies, see my grandma before she died, or spend the holidays with my family.

By mid-April, hospitalizations had climbed back to the peak of wave 2 and kept increasing during the rest of the month.

Kathy Rasmussen, Clinical Operations Manager, ICU: Dr. Feisal Mohamedali

Heavy wave

Personal accounts from caregivers during a challenging third wave of COVID-19

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We had information, process, and equipment in place, so that was not a worry. But the patients were sicker and staying in ICU longer.

Jason Zurba, Respiratory Therapy Supervisor: As the spring progressed, our ICU numbers continued to grow. Our ICU expanded into the High Acuity Unit, then into the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit and Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit. We opened a critical care cohort on the wards to look after the less acute COVID patients. Every time there was an increase in critical care beds, and a move into a new area, there was a greater strain on our staffing resources.


A medical team conducts a huddle to discuss the status of critically ill patients.

JZ: In recent months, I have had my beliefs confirmed that my colleagues are a remarkable, conscientious, and adaptable group of skilled medical professionals.

CJ: We went from having a few to an entire unit and beyond full of COVID-19 patients in a week. The patients appeared to deteriorate even faster and were even sicker than the last wave. And younger. So much younger, it was shocking. SF: The strain on the front-line workers has been significant. Staff wellbeing has been a significant concern. This has been a long haul, and the impact on front-line health care workers has been tremendous.

The final four days of April saw 500 or more COVID-19 patients a day in provincial hospitals. JZ: At the height of our ICU admissions, I worked 13 out of 14 days in a row. I was not a big outlier at this time. Everyone pitched in to care for our patients. KR: As our patients in ICU became sicker, and we were putting more patients on ECMO (heart/lung machine), I started to worry if we would have enough staff and equipment.

CJ: I have had to take a mental health day or two, though it makes me feel guilty leaving my colleagues in the trenches. But it’s so important to fill your cup, and mine is filled by spending time with my husband and daughter when I’m not at work. It is such a mentally and physically challenging place in normal times, and now it’s much worse. FM: On reflection, I think the times I was able to spend with my family were instrumental in helping me to get through the third wave.

SF: I have learned there is strength in vulnerability and transparency. It helps to support and sustain high-functioning teams. I have learned just how high functioning the RCH team is. CJ: I have learned my limitations mentally, and at the same time how strong I am and how resilient I can be in tough times. I try to keep a positive vibe and tend to joke a lot, which makes me happy. Thankfully, I work with the most amazing team. FM: The recent months have confirmed for me what I already knew - I work with an amazing team of health care professionals at Fraser Health. I am proud to be part of this fantastic team.

JZ: In wave one we were just learning how to deal with COVID. Wave three was much more of an endurance/ marathon session.

KR: As a collective group, we will always rise to the needs of our patients and each other.

The months of May and June saw a gradual decline in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in BC, as the immunization campaign ramped up.

BC’s immunization campaign included mass clinics that opened in the spring 2021 as a third wave intensified.

FM: The biggest concern I had during the third wave was how much higher the peak was and the concern that we could potentially lose control if the population did not pull together to help us bend the curve. SF: Implementing surgical reductions at RCH was difficult. We knew this decision would have an impact for many.

“All of the people that are keeping people alive and saving lives every day in our hospital systems are tired.” – Dr. Bonnie Henry, April 8, 2021 ROYAL COLUMBIAN HOSPITAL FOUNDATION I YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

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One-four-three Sick with COVID-19, Abbotsford man writes loving message to daughter from ICU bed

Kulwant Samra of Abbotsford needed intensive care after contracting COVID-19 in 2020.

After Kulwant Samra tested positive for COVID-19, the 51-year-old Abbotsford man isolated himself from his family in a room in his home. He was tired and short of breath in the first half of June 2020, as businesses and schools in the province were reopening following the initial protective measures taken during the start of the pandemic. Kulwant was initially still able to work remotely for his trucking company, dispatching a driver by phone the day he truly became alarmed by how he felt. His last memory was leaving his home by ambulance, before waking up eight weeks later at Royal Columbian Hospital.

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“I called 911, because I know my body,” Kulwant says. “I wasn’t able to stand up. I was not able to take a breath.” Feeling dizzy, Kulwant fell to the ground outside his home as the ambulance arrived. “I said, ‘Give me oxygen’. I was taking my breaths very heavy,” he recalls. After being placed in an ambulance, Kulwant remembers nothing until mid-summer. “The day I opened my eyes, it was August 6th, about afternoon,” he says. The nurse was sitting in front of me. I had tubes in my mouth, nose, and everywhere.” During the time in between, Kulwant was initially brought to his local hospital. His family grew increasingly

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worried that his condition was not improving. Eventually, he was transferred to Royal Columbian’s Intensive Care Unit. “Mr. Samra was very sick with COVID-19, and he required the full spectrum of care that an ICU can offer,” says Royal Columbian Hospital critical care physician Dr. Steve Reynolds. “Thankfully he responded well.” After regaining consciousness in August, Kulwant connected with his daughter by video call from the ICU. Unable to speak because of the tubes in his mouth, Kulwant took pen to paper and wrote a brief message: 1-4-3, shorthand for ‘I love you.’ “She couldn’t understand what the 1-4-3 means,” he laughs.


Dr. Steve REYNOLDS

Kulwant has developed a special affinity for those who cared for him, the nursing team in particular. “They were so friendly that I cannot forget their service in my life at all,” he says. “Me, my wife, and my daughter, we chat every day about them. And I do remember all of their names.” Two weeks after his first memory of the ICU, Kulwant left Royal Columbian, going straight from the ICU to his home, 48 pounds lighter than before. “We were all delighted to see him head home,” says Dr. Reynolds. “I cared for him early on in his illness when he was on life support. I came back a few weeks later, and you can imagine my surprise and pleasure at seeing him sitting up, waving and waiting to go home.” Four months later, Kulwant says his lungs still feel stiff, but he is otherwise okay. Four other close members of his family also tested positive around the same time as he did, but Kulwant was the sickest. “I will say for the public, they should be careful. I almost lost everything.”

Royal Columbian has been one of the province’s primary COVID-19 sites since the start of the pandemic.

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Ahead by a foot A surgeon’s approach to clubfoot changes the world for newborns with the deformity

Cassii Clark has had many medical appointments since she became pregnant right around the start of the global pandemic. These have included weekly ultrasounds during pregnancy over concerns about her baby’s slow growth, an induced labour at 37-weeks, and an urgent late-night trip to the hospital after lab tests revealed high bilirubin levels in her newborn girl Quinn. The two have also been making regular visits to get Quinn treated for clubfoot, a process made more comforting from knowing that Dr. Shafique Pirani, the Royal Columbian pediatric orthopedic surgeon providing that care, is widely recognized for his pioneering work in correcting the deformity. “Even the people at Children’s Hospital were like, go to him,” recalls Cassii, who lives in Langley. For more than 25 years, Dr. Pirani has forgone surgical and other clubfoot treatments in favour of a largely nonsurgical method developed by Dr. Ignacio Ponseti of the University of Iowa hospital in the 1960s. Weekly gentle

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repositioning castings of the newborn’s foot over a few weeks correct most of the deformity, which is then fully corrected by a minor outpatient tendon surgery (tenotomy) under local anesthetic. A sleep time brace, worn until just before kindergarten, prevents relapse. Long-term outcomes are very good in most cases for freedom from pain and preservation of function. The method was underappreciated for decades. Very few doctors apart from Dr. Ponseti used the method. Dr. Pirani became interested in the mid-1990s after reading Dr. Ponseti’s work. “I thought this is fascinating because here was a guy from a reputable university, well known in pediatric orthopedics, who showed how you could fix clubfoot without surgery 30 years before I started,” says Dr. Pirani. “This is kind of the amazing thing - nobody was doing it, but it made total sense to me.” Dr. Pirani began to use the method at Royal Columbian in 1996, carefully evaluating effects of treatment with a clubfoot clinical assessment tool and newly acquired MRI technology (thanks to Dr. David Hodges). The results were dramatic - all components of the deformity were corrected, confirming Dr. Ponseti’s treatment hypothesis, and helping convince clinicians all over the world to see its true value. Dr. Pirani helped popularize the method initially in Canada and then across all continents. Dr. Pirani brought the method to his native Uganda in the 2000s, training others how to teach the method in Uganda’s schools of healthcare for sustainability. “I was able to start training people in Uganda. Not treating children, but training Ugandans how to do this, because then you have a multiplier effect,” says Dr. Pirani. Quinn was nearing the end of her castings in early 2021 when mom Cassii was asked for her thoughts about the Ponseti Method. She says the results are telling. “If you compare pictures from when she was born to now, her feet are completely normal,” says Cassii. “Dr. Pirani is really caring. First thing he asks every time, ‘How is Quinn? How are you?’ Usually the answer is we are good.”


SETTING THE BAR Cameron Belsher became chair of Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation’s volunteer Board of Directors in June 2021, almost four years after joining the board. He is a senior partner and national head of mergers and acquisitions at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, as well as a resident of New Westminster for close to 30 years. Foundation: How did your connection with Royal Columbian and the Foundation start? CB: Royal Columbian has always been part of the life of our family. My wife Sarah and I have both been treated at Royal Columbian and both of our children were born at the hospital. I was looking for additional ways to contribute to our community, particularly in ways relating to healthcare. I mentioned this to a member of the Foundation’s team in a casual conversation and the next thing I knew I was learning about all the amazing work done at the hospital and the Foundation’s role in supporting that. I jumped at the chance to join the board and to learn and help. Foundation: What has been the biggest revelation about Royal Columbian since you joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors?

CB: I knew that the quality of care at Royal Columbian was outstanding. What I didn’t appreciate is why that is - it is the quality of the people and their passionate drive for sustained excellence. I was not aware of the hospital’s leadership position in cardiac care, trauma, high risk maternity, neurosciences, research and training and mental health, among other things. Foundation: What has stood out for you about the response of the hospital and the Foundation and its donors to the pandemic?

CB: It was the focused pivot to meeting the generational challenge presented by the pandemic. The nature of the care required in the hospital changed dramatically but the commitment, focus, and standard of excellence remained unchanged. In the case of the Foundation and its donors, the support was remarkable. The Foundation worked with the hospital to identify immediate needs - primarily how to support healthcare workers in an uncertain and ever-changing environment. We then matched those needs to the incredible generosity of our donor community and they stepped up in a huge way. Foundation: What should donors know about the continuing redevelopment of the hospital?

CB: The redevelopment is incredibly exciting and proceeding full steam ahead. The Foundation’s goal is to help augment what will be a tremendous facility by providing additional resources. We have a real opportunity to make a significant difference in the quality of care that will be provided to our community.

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Caring from Hospital to Home Getting a loved one home from the hospital isn’t just about arranging transportation. Choosing the right post-hospital care is essential for a full recovery. Our Talent is caringTM, for you and the person you love.

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