The quality of healthcare in the St. Joseph's Hospital just went up another notch after a generous donation of $40,000 from the Health Care Auxiliary, designated towards the lab unit in the hospital.

"We're just thrilled with the work the Auxiliary does in fundraising and making donations to certain departments. This year lab was the focus for them, and without replacing old and aging equipment, we can't do our proper testing. Some of the equipment has been here since the hospital opened in 1991 and it's run it's course. Computers are changing the way we do testing, and with all the new technology, we have to keep up with what's going on in healthcare. We just thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their kind donation," said Mark Pettitt, the Director of Support Services at the hospital.

The cheque was presented at a very well attended ladies' tea Wednesday afternoon, and is the first installment of what will amount to over $100,000 for the laboratory. Some of the main contributors to the donation were the Estevan United Way, and long term care resident Father Cornelius Lucy, in addition to the various fundraising events held by the Auxiliary throughout the year.

Secretary Ginger Anderson summed up the organization's goals when it comes to raising support, expressing that it's, "To keep our hospital and our doctors here in Estevan. We would like to see this facility flourish."

The funds enable the purchase of 2 incubators for microbiology ($15,213), a digital temperature fridge (3,529), a hematology analyzer (62,111), and 3 ECG cardiograph machines worth 43,274. All that adds up to $124,000 worth of upgrades.

"If someone comes in with chest pain, we'll get and ECG test done right away and the doctors can read that and make a diagnosis. We're a busy lab, we do many, many samples a day and we're on call 24 hours a day so there's never a dull moment. We're always using that equipment, and everything has a shelf life, so we're very fortunate that we're able to replace some of our equipment now," Pettitt explained.

He added that the machines also had a habit of being unreliable for the staff. Some days they would have to rely on other labs for assistance, with the result of slower results and added expense.

"We're very happy that we have reliable and very accurate machines now."

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