An important consideration in a community with an aging population, such as we have in the Comox Valley, is that specialized medical services must be available to accommodate that demographic group.

One health concern that is more prevalent with people over age 50 is colorectal cancer. And it is conventional wisdom that if everybody past that age were to have regular screening, then as many as 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented.

That is a significant figure which identified the need for The Foundation to purchase an additional colonoscope for the hospital. A new scope would ease the demand on the existing scope and would help reduce wait times for patients.

The statistics bear out the need for this equipment. St. Joseph’s Hospital had a waiting list of 857 patients prior to the purchase of a new colonoscope. As the hospital had the capacity to perform 44 procedures a week, that left patients with a wait time of up to 19 weeks. But last year, with the new colonoscope, 3,810 colonoscopies were performed, with an average of 73 per week.

Furthermore, the addition of the new scope plus an addition to Operating Room time has improved care for the Comox Valley community significantly. Indeed, additional OR time, and the expertise of new gastroenterologist Dr. Pierre Nel means that patients are getting the best possible service available.

In their quest to secure the colonoscope the Foundation is grateful for the support it received from Thrifty Foods, the Courtenay Rotary Club, the Coastal Credit Union as well as several individuals within the community.

With your continued support the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation can keep serving the community with enhanced equipment, which can only serve our quest for the best in health care for all of us.