Thunder Bay 50/50 Supports Life-Changing Surgeries

(L-R): Ryan Kelly, Operating Room Team Leader, and Ron Garon, Manager Perioperative Services at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

When we think about healthcare, we often think about cancer, cardiac, stroke, and other “big” diseases. But the truth is, patients in the city and across Northwestern Ontario rely upon the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre for a wide range of care programs every day. In the operating rooms alone, patients come for surgeries of all types including orthopaedics for new knees and hips, urological and gynaecological conditions, eye surgery, and more. They may not be “life-saving” treatments in all cases, but they are all life-changing.

“It’s not glamorous, but it means a lot to the person having the operation,” said Deb Everts, one of the OR Team Leaders at the Health Sciences Centre.

Everyone who purchases a ticket in the Thunder Bay 50/50 Draw helps contribute to important equipment like some of the everyday instruments so desperately needed for these operations.

This includes a new set of cataract surgery instruments. What you may not realize is that a busy surgical program like the one at our Hospital requires many different sets of the same instruments available at all times.

“We do upwards of 15 cataract surgeries per day and 60 per week,” said Ryan Kelly, another OR Team Leader.

Sterilizing instruments between operations is a lengthy procedure, so the team needs enough sets to treat all the patients on that day. In fact, extras are better.

“If the surgeons open up a set and one of the instruments is damaged or missing, we have to open up a whole new tray,” said Ron Garon, Manager Perioperative Services at our Hospital. “Same thing if a set of instruments happens to drop to the floor.”

“If we didn’t have extra sets on hand, we’d have to reschedule those surgeries.”

That’s true of the all the vital instruments that are purchased with Thunder Bay 50/50 proceeds, including new sets of orthopaedic instruments. These sets come in two sizes: large for hip surgery and fractures and small for smaller bones such as hands and shoulders. Urological instruments help surgeons access the bladder and even the kidneys without the need for cutting through layers of muscle, skin, and organs. This greatly reduces the risk for infection and also reduces recovery times for those patients. A cystoscope and a scope for examining knees and shoulders round out the list.

As you can imagine, these highly specialized, precision tools are not cheap.

“These tools are very delicate, very expensive,” Garon said. “Some of the more complex pieces such as the ureteroscope (a flexible camera that reaches the bladder and kidney) are repairable, but repairs alone can cost five to ten thousand dollars. Some equipment can cost hundreds of thousands to replace.

“This is the most highly used equipment in our Hospital – it’s used every day so we have to repair or replace them often.”

Your Thunder Bay 50/50 ticket purchase will help ensure our patients aren’t waiting on equipment replacements or repairs. Ask anyone who has had a hip replaced or who has regained their sight after cataract surgery – it’s a pretty big deal to them! Help us support our OR teams with the equipment they need by buying your Thunder Bay 50/50 tickets at: