THE Cairns community has reached its goal, and fundraised $1.4 million for a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said he was blown away by the generosity of individuals and groups, who answered the call for help.
“We already had some money in the bank from the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge but the community answered the call and we received significant donations towards this project in a short space of time, totalling $423,000,” Dr Chapman said. The final donation of $50,000 came from a woman who saw that’s how much was needed to reach the total, and she was glad to be able to get the appeal over the line.
In addition, funds from the Car for Cardiac, Christmas Wrap and The Power of Pallets went towards the $1.4 million total.
Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer said he could not be more grateful for the Foundation’s work in bringing the community together for the common goal.
Work is well underway, with applicants for the cardiology electrophysiologist position soon to be interviewed.
“As well, we are training more cardiac catheter laboratory nurses and we’re are about to start recruiting a new echocardiology sonographer,” Dr Starmer said.
“We are awaiting final architectural drawings but these have begun.
“What this means for the entire Far North community, is that patients all the way to the outer Torres Strait Islands will benefit, and the contribution from the community to enable this to occur is both unique and greatly appreciated,” he said. The two cardiac catheter laboratories will run side-by-side in a new location in D Block at Cairns Hospital.
“We will be able to do all the work we already are, such as angioplasties and other coronary procedures. But the second lab means we will be able to perform ablations of abnormal heart rhythms rather than send those patients to Townsville or Brisbane. We also will be able to implant life-saving implantable defibrillators into who people who need them – also saving them having to go to Townsville or Brisbane,” he said.
Dr Starmer is confident the second cath lab facility will be operational by the end of the year.