John Moorhouse is the development and communications officer for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

Foundation notes: Attention turns to Phase 2 of Penticton hospital

Phase 2 of the $312-million Penticton Regional Hospital upgrade is starting

Now that patients and staff at Penticton Regional Hospital are settled into the new David E. Kampe Tower, attention turns to Phase 2 of the $312-million PRH upgrade.

Preliminary construction work is now getting underway on a major expansion of the emergency department into areas vacated by the clinics and departments which moved into the tower. The hospital’s pharmacy, supplies and equipment storage areas will also be renovated with completion set for 2021.

One of the unique features of the PRH project is the addition of a pneumatic tube system. Much like those inter-office memo tubes from the first half of the 20th century, pneumatic tubes link various hospital departments. Drugs, specimens and documents can be sent between the laboratory, nurses’ stations and other departments.

Installation of four more pneumatic tube stations in older parts of the hospital will take place over the next few weeks. Other Phase 2 upgrades will follow.

It’s not too late to give

The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s $20-million campaign to provide medical equipment for the PRH expansion included $2 million for Phase 2 of the project.

We now have just $250,000 to go. Again, our sincere thanks to all our donors—and a reminder it’s not too late to give.

One recent fundraiser was earmarked for the PRH cardiac department. Well-known Penticton resident Gary Gierlich helped organize a fun cardiac awareness pickleball tournament on July 27 at the Penticton Seniors’ Centre. Gary suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while playing pickleball in 2015 and wanted to honour those who helped.

Teams from various PRH departments and emergency responders took part. There was a great turnout and a ton of laughs while raising funds for the PRH cardiac department and the Penticton Pickleball Club. A final tally should be known soon. Thanks, everyone!

Mela for Cancer festival

Another big upcoming fundraiser is being hosted by the local Punjabi community.

The third annual Mela for Cancer festival will be held Aug. 18 in Penticton’s Gyro Park. Over its first two years, the Mela raised $35,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation.

Don’t miss this colourful event featuring Punjabi culture, entertainment and plenty of food.

Oliver Kiwanis donates $50,000

Construction of a $1.25-million upgrade to the emergency department at South Okanagan General Hospital is well underway.

A huge thank-you to the Oliver Kiwanis Club which donated an incredible $50,000 to the SOGH project. The SOS Medical Foundation is raising $280,000 to cover the costs of some features not included in the original plans, such as a nurses’ work station, permanent medical gas hookups in the triage area and an exterior canopy over the new ER entrance for walk-in patients. Construction should be completed by late December.

Community support continues

Finally, a couple of sincere thank-yous to pass along.

Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Penticton for completing their five-year $50,000 pledge to our PRH Tower campaign. When donations from individual Rotary members are added, their total gift tops $350,000. Simply fantastic!

Our thanks as well to the Mr. & Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation, which donated more than $55,000 for a key piece of X-ray equipment at PRH. The Woodward’s Foundation also helped purchase five new defibrillators for heart emergencies at other healthcare facilities in the South Okanagan Similkameen.

John Moorhouse is the development and communications officer for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. For information on donating, please call 250-492-9027 or visit our website

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