Red Deer’s cardiac catheterization lab petition goes online

Red Deer doctors step up efforts

Red Deer doctors are asking for the public’s help to convince the province that the city desperately needs a cardiac catheterization lab to save the lives of Central Albertans.

An online petition at — centralabcathlab.ca — implores the Legislative Assembly to support operational funding for a cardiac catheterization laboratory at Red Deer Regional Hospital Center to serve Alberta Health Services Central Zone.

The petition says, “Without quick access to Catheterization to treat blocked arteries, the long transfer times cause Central Albertan’s have a 60% higher rate of death and/or disability than people in Edmonton and Calgary. A Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory in Red Deer would save lives, reduce length of hospital stay, reduce re-hospitalization rates, and reduce disability after a heart attack.”

In October, local doctors made their concerns public and started a Facebook page — Central Alberta Needs Cardiac Catheterization.

So far the province has said improvements in Red Deer need to be made with a view of a province-wide cardiac system.

Dr. Kym Jim, head of Internal Medicine at the Red Deer hospital, said the local advocacy group is still waiting for a decision from the province, but more meetings are planned with government officials.

“My feeling is the science is there. The data is there. The need is there. Really, it’s a matter of them sorting out, in my mind, something that just needs to get done. I don’t know what they’re hold up is,” Jim said on Thursday.

He said the lab is feasible and deliverable according to an AHS report. Looking at it from a province-wide perspective does not change that. Operational dollars for cardiac catheterization are being limited to Edmonton and Calgary when some could be spent in Red Deer.

“They are not being spent where the patients are and that has tremendous implications for patient care and tremendous implications for functions of the hospital.”

A lab would also allow more potentially life-saving therapies to be done in Red Deer.

He said Central Albertans have not forgotten about the need for cardiac catheterization.

“Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me about it or our colleagues in cardiology. It’s very frequent.”

To help further the cause, the petition was put online about a week ago and petitions were also signed at local meetings. About 800 signatures have been collected.

Jim said the petition will be online “for as long as it takes.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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