Victoria General Hospital & Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary celebrate 35 years

Victoria – Victoria General Hospital is 35 years old. Island Health is celebrating today with a staff barbecue that includes archival photos and stories.

Victoria General is the trauma centre for the Island and it offers specialized pediatric services including neo-natal intensive care. It is also home to the Stroke Rapid Assessment and Breast Health Patient Navigator programs.

More than a dozen people can lay claim to having worked at VGH throughout its entire 35 year history, including Brenda Kirkpatrick who was a student finishing her medical imaging program with practicum experience at the hospital. After a few years on the job, Brenda was promoted to CT (computed tomography) supervisor at VGH, leading a team of 7. Brenda is now Leader of the CT and interventional radiology teams at both Victoria General and Royal Jubilee Hospitals with a staff of more than 80 medical professionals. After a long and rewarding career at VGH Brenda will be retiring within the year.

Blinding us with 35 years of medical science at VGH are Richard Thomas in the laboratory department and special chemistry technologist Gail Lyon.

Providing care to children at our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for 35 years are registered nurses Lydia MacDonnell (who is 48 years into her Island Health career – she retired briefly but she’s back) and Stella Morris (who is 50 years into her career at Island Health.) Jan Calnan, an award-winning forensic nurse examiner, has also been with VGH since its inception.

It’s Jim Munro’s 35th year too at VGH but his Island Health career spans 45 years. Jim is the regional manager of South Island laundry services located at VGH. Jim and his team wash 35,000 pounds a day – that’s 13.1 million pounds of laundry per year at the hospital. (You thought your laundry days were tough!)

Along with the long service staff, there are four VGH Auxiliary members who have volunteered for 35 years.

Kay McQueen began with the baby seat program in 1983. Since then, Kay has volunteered in the gift shop, is the shop’s bookkeeper and in the knitting program.  Kay served as President of the Auxiliary and has been voted a Lifetime Member for her contributions. 

Joyce Calland was the leader of the baby seat program in 1983. Volunteers rented out baby car seats to parents as their children matured from birth to toddler. When the program ended, Joyce volunteered at the gift shop and continues in that role today.

Judy Gordon has been volunteering in the gift shop since it opened in 1983. When Judy isn’t greeting patients and their guests and helping them with snacks, gifts and flowers – she is tending to her passion – rhododendrons.

Anne Elm has been volunteering with the auxiliary knitting program since 1983 and is currently in charge of people who knit baby layettes. All babies who leave VGH are offered newborn caps to make their way home a little cozier – a thoughtful reminder of their arrival into the world.

Fun facts about Victoria General Hospital in 2017/18:

  • Emergency department visits: 59,786
  • Labour and Delivery: 3,031 moms and 3,068 newborns
  • Stroke Rapid Assessment Clinic visits: 2,376
  • Operating Rooms: 6,875 inpatients and 6,061 day surgeries
  • Rehab visits: 5,513 occupational therapy and 4,338 physiotherapy

Media inquiries:
Meribeth Burton
250-519-1815
Meribeth.burton@viha.ca