Gabriola health clinic sees first emergencies

Clinic open for business in Gabriola Health Care Centre.

Volunteers put the finishing touches to the walkway leading to the Gabriola Medical Clinic.

Volunteers put the finishing touches to the walkway leading to the Gabriola Medical Clinic.

Even before they finished settling in to their offices at the Gabriola Health Care Centre, doctors were already handling their first emergency.

Since the clinic opened on June 11, there have been 14 patients brought into the emergency department with conditions such as lacerations, severe abdominal pain and a patient who was injured by a chainsaw.

“We’re able to handle multiple emergencies,” said Janice Kerr, clinic office manager, adding the two beds in the emergency room will increase to three once the equipment arrives.

The clinic, operating on the main floor of the health care centre,  relocated from its former spot at the Twin Beaches Shopping Centre. The centre’s medical emergency helicopter pad has also been cleared for operation.

“Hopefully we will never have to use it, but it’s there if we need it to save a life,” said Kerr.

The vision to construct a health care centre for Gabriola Island began in 2006. The major fundraising push began in 2010, which the Gabriola Health Care Foundation designated the Year of the Clinic with an ambitious goal to raise $1 million by the end of the year.

The foundation has raised more than $1.35 million for the centre, plus in-kind donations of supplies to go toward the construction of the building. The bulk of the money was raised through fundraising and by donations. The Vancouver Island Health Authority contributed a $100,000 grant.

Kerr said the foundation did an excellent job creating the centre and the building is beautiful and functional.

The clinic has two full-time doctors and wants to attract two more to serve patient needs as there are about 100 people on the waiting list for a physician. The current doctors also split the on-call services to treat emergencies.

The Gabriola Community Health Centre is at 695 Church St. The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is Aug. 5 from 1-3 p.m.

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