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North Bay Lions Club funds urgently needed cataract tray for local hospital

'With additional trays, the hospital will have the capacity to treat and provide follow up care for more patients in North Bay, close to home'.

The North Bay Lions Club has donated $10,000 to the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) to improve quality of life to ophthalmology patients in northern Ontario.

Last year over 25-hundred patients were treated at the hospital’s Ophthalmology Clinic and Ophthalmology operating room.

“With this donation we will be able to purchase an urgently needed Cataract Set/Tray which costs close to $40-thousand. With additional trays, the hospital will have the capacity to treat and provide follow up care for more patients in North Bay, close to home.”

Paul Heinrich, President and CEO NBRHC went on to say that with an aging population, more people will require ophthalmic care including cataract surgery at some point in their lives.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Niranjan Vijay said North Bay is “good at being a leader in the field of eye care in the north.”   

“We have lasers in our clinic and we have outstanding specialists and we have existing infrastructure that really this donation helps to build upon,” said Dr. Vijay.

”The actual sterilization tray houses all the instruments needed for cataract surgery. So, all the fine blades, all the fine lid speculums, all the fine choppers as we call it which are secondary instruments to break up the cataract. It has at least 12 common instruments that all cataract surgeons need to do our job. These are fine precise surgical instruments made of stainless steel or titanium and that is why the cost can go up, especially if they are made of titanium.”  

Dr .Kenneth Kesty, who together with Dr. Cynthia Bullen has served the community for 44  years.  

“Equipping our hospital with the state-of-the-art instruments to stay current in the rapidly advancing surgical field, ensures we can continue to recruit new specialists to the region.”

North Bay Lions Club president Wendy Porter-Greason acknowledged that the hospital has vision care has always been a top priority for the club.

She expressed gratitude that the club is able to continue to raise funds and support the clinic during these difficult times.   

“It is amazing to be able to carry on with the bingo because let’s face it, how many other organizations can make money at a time of COVID-19. We have doubled our sales, so we’ve made some money. Hopefully, we will press on to do as good in sales come September,” said Porter-Greason.

Over the years Lions clubs across the district have donated a minimum of a quarter of a million dollars toward the Ophthalmology clinic, named after the volunteer organization.   

Tammy Morison, President and CEO of the North Bay Regional Health Care Foundation said the donation by the North Bay Lions Club will help get the cataract tray sooner.  

The hospital will cover the remaining $30,000.

“Not only will it allow more procedures to take place, but it also improves patient flow. So, with having an added tray, they are able to fit more patients in, within a shorter period of time,” explained Morison.

“The North Bay Lions Club has been incredible supporters of our eye clinic over the years. They have also supported in the past things like our campaign for the MRI, the building fund for the new hospital and surgical equipment for the Ophthalmology program. They have been involved with making sure our hospital can care for the eye care needs of our community for many years.”