Your donations to TB Vets are life-changing in more ways than expected. In the recent months, your impact has extended to help address even the unprecedented need brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Late last year, TB Vets granted $20,000 towards the Expanded Respiratory PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Testing at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH)’s Larissa Yarr Medical Microbiology Laboratory.
Helmed by Dr. Amanda Wilmer, the microbiology team of the already advanced lab had found the need to go beyond their current testing program in order to identify more viral and bacterial pathogens.
Before COVID-19: access and antibiotics
To perform further tests, the lab needed to send specimens all the way to Vancouver. Delays of 5-7 days were normal, and it meant precious time had passed before a patient’s illness could be confirmed. This waiting time resulted to longer hospital stays for patients, placing them meanwhile on antibiotics that could turn out to be inappropriate and risky.
“It’s not always easy to tell if a patient has a viral or bacterial infection,” clarifies Dr. Edith Blondel-Hill, a Medical Microbiology and Infections Disease Specialist at the hospital. “[If quite sick, a patient] may end up on antibiotics unnecessarily. Just one dose [can cause] problems down the road that we may not yet fully understand.”
TB Vets helped fund for the Expanded Respiratory PCR Testing at Kelowna General Hospital. Photo Provided.
Your TB Vets gifts in action
With TB Vets’ grant, the KGH lab now sees a significant increase in their overall testing capacity, with Dr. Wilmer’s team running multiple types of specimens at the same time.
Local access to this advanced technology has also allowed them to rapidly diagnose an additional 12 viral pathogens and 3 bacterial ones.
Implemented in November 2019, the expanded testing proved be valuable in the winter. Previously, approximately 400 specimens during the season were sent to the reference facility in Vancouver. With your help through TB Vets, 186 respiratory infections were diagnosed quickly at KGH, helping improve patient care and infection control measures.
The unexpected coronavirus
The recent months have seen your TB Vets donations supporting not only respiratory patients, but the entire population of the Interior of BC with improved viral testing capabilities.
Doug Rankmore, CEO of KGH Foundation, adds, “The times we are living in has proven that proactive leadership in philanthropy and healthcare can create impact beyond expectations. [TB Vets’ leadership] will continue to improve the lives of those living with respiratory illness and distress.”*
*Topmost Photo: Dr. Edith Blondel-Hill (left) and Dr. Amanda Wilmer (right)