Young doctor graduates from program

Young doctor graduates from program

Dr. Travis Thompson recently graduated from the UBC Family Practice Residency Program and hopes to establish his own practice in Oliver in the near future. (File photo)

A young man who was born in South Okanagan General Hospital is now a doctor hoping to establish a practice here.

Dr. Travis Thompson recently graduated from the UBC Family Practice Residency Program and will be doing locum work in Penticton and Oliver until he establishes his own business.

The former Sun Fun leader in Oliver and graduate of Southern Okanagan Secondary School is the son of Raymond and Bev Thompson.

Travis previously told the Chronicle that he hopes to set up practice in Oliver because he prefers the small town atmosphere.

“The big city is not for me,” he said, noting that Oliver is a hard place to leave.

Meanwhile, Interior Health is forging ahead with plans to upgrade the emergency department at South Okanagan General Hospital. But all eyes are on Penticton Regional Hospital now as work fastidiously continues on the new patient care tower.

As you walk through the David E. Kampe tower (costing $312 million),  several things strike you.

Expansive windows bring in a lot of natural light; 84 new single patient rooms — each with its own bathroom — will provide privacy and help infection control. And five large operating rooms will give doctors and nurses exceptional working space.

When complete, the tower is going to modernize health care for people living in Penticton and the South Okanagan.

“It’s obviously a complex undertaking to plan and construct a six-storey hospital tower as an addition to the existing hospital,” said Interior Health project manager Michael Morton.

Construction crews are putting their heart and soul into the project. In May of 2016, there were just  a handful of workers to begin the job, but now close to 400 are on site every day in this final year of construction.

More than 22,000 cubic metres of concrete have been poured on the site, building the foundation of the new tower as well as the nearby parkade.

Also used in construction are 2.4 million kilograms of rebar, 140,000 kilograms of structural steel, along with 50,000 square metres of drywall. Hundreds of exterior windows have also been installed.

Inside the hospital walls, thousands of metres of wiring will seamlessly connect the modern facility.

In fact, 460 kilometres of various cables will be used for the nurse-call system. And four thousand gallons of paint will be used in finishing the building.

The first floor will feature a brand new cafe as well as a gift shop, but the most impressive feature may be the stand-alone MRI suite, as part of the medical imaging department. A thin sheet of copper lines the inside of the walls and ceiling, as the MRI room is built like a room within a room.

The second floor features a series of large operating room theatres, along with the urology suite, itself lined with lead as a protective measure.

The third floor features UBC space to train more health care workers, along with meeting rooms and a brand new medical device reprocessing department that will clean and sterilize surgical equipment.

Floors four through six are the inpatient units, while the seventh floor is a mechanical room. On top of that is the heli-pad, drastically improving PRH’s ability to transfer patients.

Once the new patient care tower is completed, renovations in the existing hospital will begin with completion anticipated in April 2021.

For a tax-deductible donation of $1,200 or $100 a month for 12 months, your name can be added onto one of 300 patio bricks to be laid near the main entrance to the new tower. All  engraved bricks must be confirmed by the end of August. To make a donation, contact the SOS Medical Foundation office at 250-492-9027.

Foundation staff will also be at the Penticton Community Market on Saturday, July 21.

Overall, the $20 million PRH equipment campaign has now topped the $17 million mark, so there’s only $3 million to go.


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