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ESSENTIALS With the help of donors, these three devices play a vital role in supporting and saving the lives of Stollery patients from across Alberta and beyond BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH


art of the Stollery Children’s Hospital’s strength lies in having the latest equipment to treat children with complex medical needs. Thanks in part to donations to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, the following devices are used regularly in the Hospital and in the field to save the lives of young patients.


Often, young patients are transported to the Stollery Children’s Hospital from smaller communities when they need specialized levels of care that can’t be provided at local medical centres. Kids make the trip via ambulance, airplane or helicopter from places as far-flung as Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, and, with the exception of neonatal patients, every one of those transports

involves the Hospital’s ZOLL X monitor defibrillators. Regardless of the reason for transport, patients between the ages of about one month to 17 years are automatically hooked up to the monitor defibrillator, which monitors heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature, and alerts the transport team if any of those factors slip out of a safe range. The ZOLL X can also act as a defibrillator and provide heart pacing and real-time CPR feedback if needed. With the Stollery transporting about 275 kids every year, the monitor defibrillator is essential, which is why, in addition to the two that the transport team already has on its transport sleds, a third has just been purchased for backup and educational use. “It’s a piece of equipment that we couldn’t run without,” says Lisa Leroux,

The Great Bear Society The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation often receives financial donations as specified by donors’ wills — about $2 million every year. Traditionally, the Foundation hasn’t had a way to officially thank legacy donors



or develop relationships with them, which is why it formed its Great Bear Society in 2017 as a means of formalizing those willed gifts while the donors are still alive. Anita Klassen, former VP finance for the Foundation,

the Stollery’s pediatric critical care transport team co-ordinator.


The Stollery uses three different kinds of long-term ventricular assist devices, or VADs: the HeartWare Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), the Berlin Heart and the new SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. Each device differs slightly, but all do the work of the heart and consist of a pump that is installed inside a patient’s body and connected to a driveline or electrical lead that is fuelled by an external power source. SynCardia and Berlin Heart VADs usually plug into the wall but can use battery power for short trips by the patient and can only be used in-hospital due to their larger size. These VADs are used by patients with congenital heart defects or end-stage heart failure awaiting

wanted to help kick off the formation of the Great Bear Society by becoming a member herself. Klassen and her husband, Ric, have both put money aside in their wills to go to the Foundation. As recommended by the Great Bear Society, they did not specify where they would like their gift directed, but rather left the donation

open-ended so that future Stollery staff can determine how the money can best be spent, whether on equipment, programs, research or training. “We have grandchildren, and we want to make sure that this facility is there for other people’s grandchildren or children one day if they need it,” Klassen says.

HEROES - Spring 2018  
HEROES - Spring 2018