Lindsay Martinek with bipap ventilator
Lindsay Martinek with a new bipap ventilator

The gift of breath, the gift of life: new bipap ventilators

Thanks to Berna and Myron Garron’s $50-million gift, Michael Garron Hospital has replaced much of its aging ventilation equipment—literally giving the gift of life to some of our most vulnerable patients.

Michael Garron Hospital’s community has some of the highest rates of chronic illnesses in the city. For these patients — who struggle on a daily basis with diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, and other illnesses — having the best care available close to home is critical.

When patients arrive at the hospital in respiratory distress — often a result of congestive heart failure or COPD — respiratory therapists typically have two options to help them breathe: intubation or the much less invasive bipap ventilation. Bipap ventilators are masks that open patients’ lungs, provide oxygen, and clear the airway when the patient is unable to breathe normally on their own.

Often, this technology can help patients avoid intubation — and the damage it can cause to airways and lungs —altogether.

Last year, Michael Garron Hospital replaced 11 aging bipap ventilators with the latest technology. The new machines are much more comfortable for patients than the older ones, and provide respiratory therapists added functionality, including the ability to monitor what’s happening in a patient’s lungs.

“With the new bipap ventilators, we can provide better care with the information they provide,” says Lindsay Martinek, Director, Interprofessional Practice and a respiratory therapist.

And when intubation often means that patients must be rendered unconscious with anaesthesia, bipap ventilation means that patients are able to remain active members of their care team — an important aspect of quality healthcare.

“The patient is at the heart of everything we do at Michael Garron Hospital,” Lindsay says. “So having technology that helps us uphold the value of patient-centred care is so important.”

Lindsay is grateful for the incredible impact of the Garron family’s gift

“The best thank you is probably the patient who doesn’t need an invasive procedure and a stay in the intensive care unit — which is what the bipap ventilators mean."