Penticton patients breathe easier with hospital equipment

Patients can breathe easier thanks to the recent addition of new equipment in the respiratory department at Penticton Regional Hospital.

On hand for the public unveilling of new medical equipment Wednesday was Kandys Merola

On hand for the public unveilling of new medical equipment Wednesday was Kandys Merola

Patients can breathe easier thanks to the recent addition of new equipment in the respiratory department at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Two machines, each about the size of a phone booth and designed to measure a patient’s lung volume, were installed late last year with assistance from TB Vets and the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

Inside each sealed plethysmography machine is a chair and a mouthpiece into which a patient breathes. The devices are used to help diagnose and analyze a range of respiratory conditions, ranging from emphysema to asthma to lung cancer.

Scott Frymire, the professional practice leader for the PRH respiratory department, said the new equipment, which also includes analyzers and computer software, cuts in half to about 30 minutes the amount of time it takes to test patients.

Janice Perrino, executive director of the medical foundation, said a $78,900 gift from TB Vets covered the purchase of one machine, while cash from other donors and special pricing from the supplier made it possible to buy the second unit.

“What it means for the Penticton Regional Hospital is that we have state-of-the-art respiratory equipment, more diseases will be diagnosed, more patients supported and most important, more lives saved,” Perrino said.

TB Vets, which celebrates its 70th anniversary next year, was founded to support Canadian military veterans who returned from war with tuberculosis. Its mission has since evolved to help fight a wider range of respiratory ailments.

“This is where TB Vets takes the lead by providing life-saving respiratory testing equipment, particularly in communities where the need is greatest,” said executive director Kandys Merola.