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We have all felt it – the anxious anticipation as we or a loved one await the results of medical laboratory tests.  “I’m going to order some blood work,” is a common phrase heard from family doctors and specialists alike.  Doctors rely heavily on the lab to provide important information about their patients.  In fact, 70% of medical decisions are based on laboratory tests.  From blood and body fluid samples to tissue biopsies and tumour resections, accurate test results are key to the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.

 Every day, thousands of tests are performed in hospital laboratories in the East Kootenay.  Each person’s sample is carefully analyzed by sophisticated instruments or examined by highly trained laboratory technologists and laboratory physicians, called pathologists.  Abnormalities which may signal serious illness are immediately flagged and communicated to the ordering doctors, guiding the treatment of critically ill patients.  When the minutes count – such as in a life-threatening infection or matching a blood transfusion for a person who is bleeding – precise, timely lab results save patients’ lives.

 From Creston to Golden to Elkford, our “behind the scenes” lab team cares deeply about our patients.  That is why, with the help of the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, we are seeking to modernize our diagnostic testing and improve the standard of care for residents of the East Kootenays.  We want to serve our communities to the best of our ability, but are currently limited by outdated technology, frequent breakdowns, and a lack of physical space.  The life expectancy of most lab equipment is 4-7 years, but much of ours is pushing 15-20 years.  Huge advances in laboratory medicine have been made in this time, with vast improvements to diagnostic instruments.  Just think how far your cell phone has come in 15 years!

 Equipping our labs with state-of-the-art technology will significantly impact the healthcare of thousands of East Kootenay residents.  Rapid processing and increased automation will allow for better efficiency and faster results, so your loved one can get the care they need when they need it.  Expanded test menus will mean finding the right answers for complex conditions such as autoimmune disorders, and smaller sample sizes will mean less blood is needed from vulnerable populations such as children and seniors.  Leading-edge tools will allow us to maintain the highest diagnostic standards, so you can sleep soundly when your doctor says, “The tests came back normal, everything looks fine”.

We are proud to be laboratory specialists in a region like ours, with people like you who give generously to help others beat the odds against serious illness.  You make it possible for us to do the best work for our patients.  Please consider donating to the Foundation’s Starlite Campaign this fall.  There are currently over $1.5 million in laboratory equipment needs throughout the East Kootenays.  Together, we can make this life-saving equipment available for everyone, and champion healthcare in the Kootenays to a new level of excellence.


         — Drs. Launny Lowden, Mary Corkill, Stephanie Nolan, and Rocke Robertson

             and the Pathology & Lab Medicine Staff of the East Kootenay




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