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Dr. Gary Redekop with a patient at Vancouver General Hospital.supplied

On February 1, luminaries of the Chinese Canadian community will gather to celebrate the new year and changing the future of surgery in British Columbia.

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s 2020 Lion Way Properties Time to Shine gala is expected to raise the funds required to complete the multi-year Future of Surgery campaign. And with construction well under way, patients are already benefiting.

Along with government investment, the $60-million campaign is funding 16 state-of-the-art operating rooms, a new hybrid operating room and 40 recovery beds at VGH, and two revitalized in-patient units including specialized high acuity beds at UBC Hospital.

The majority of the in-patient renovations at UBC Hospital are complete and operational. Construction of the new Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Surgical Centre at VGH, named in recognition of the campaign’s lead gift, is on track and due to open in February 2021.

“We’re significantly improving Vancouver Coastal Health’s capacity to do high acuity surgery,” says Dr. Gary Redekop, head of the departments of surgery at VGH and UBC Hospital.

The increased surgical and patient capacity at UBC Hospital will allow more scheduled surgeries to be performed there. This will allow VGH to better handle urgent and unscheduled surgeries such as complex traumas or transplants, without cancelling or postponing scheduled surgeries. The end result will be reduced wait times and an improved patient experience.

“As a surgeon, if a patient needs emergency surgery, my dilemma is that I have to go to a scheduled patient in pre-op and say, ‘I’m really sorry. We’re not going to be able to do your surgery today,’” says Dr. Redekop. “You can imagine how that reverberates – not just the emotional aspect, but work and childcare, or on caring for an elderly parent.”

The Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Surgical Centre will also feature improved staff areas that will have an enormous impact. “Even just something like the new breast pumping room – it may allow someone to come back to work a month or two sooner after maternity leave, and make our people feel more valued,” says Dr. Redekop. “Multiply that by the size of Vancouver Coastal Health, and it’s huge.”

“The Time to Shine gala and the generosity of Vancouver’s Chinese Canadian community have been major factors in our Future of Surgery campaign’s success,” says Angela Chapman, president and CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “Since our first Time to Shine gala in 2015, this event has already raised $15.4-million.”

Chapman is particularly thrilled that this year’s title sponsor is Lion Way Properties, founded by CEO Willie Li. “It’s exciting to see Vancouverites from Mainland China starting to really make their mark in philanthropy,” she says. “Through partnering with our foundation, they are making health care transformation possible for all British Columbians.”

Learn more at vghfoundation.ca/surgery.


Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.