Patel, others still wishing, working for cath lab in Kamloops

While a cardiac-care unit at RIH will provide a dedicated space for specialized care to patients with serious cardiovascular issues, ICCHA/ Wish founder Al Patel said the goal is to see a catheterization lab established at the hospital, to address issues before they become chronic

Royal Inland Hospital’s new coronary care unit is expected to be in operation before the end of the summer — a necessary step in the ICCHA/Wish Fund’s goal to have a catheterization lab established at the tertiary-care facility.

Aided by last year’s $500,000 donation from the wish fund, the CCU will see cardiologists monitor four patients 24 hours a day using a brand new Xprezzon monitoring system.

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While the CCU will provide a dedicated space for specialized care to patients with serious cardiovascular issues, ICCHA/ Wish founder Al Patel said the goal is to see a catheterization lab established at the hospital, to address issues before they become chronic.

A cardiac cath lab is an examination room with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualize the arteries and chambers of the heart and treat any stenosis or abnormality found.

“The cath lab is what I call the Rolls Royce of cardiac care,” Patel told KTW.

While proud to be part of establishing the CCU, Patel noted that without a cath lab, patients still have to wait after being stabilized to be transported to Kelowna General Hospital for such services.

Patel said a cath lab will provide better diagnostics and therapeutic services in cardiac care, immediate diagnosis for residents and reduce risks to those cardiac patients by eliminating the stress of travel, which can be costly and hazardous, especially in the winter.

The ICCHA/Wish Fund has pledged to raise $1 million to help fund a cath lab at RIH.

Frustrated with a lack of commitment from the provincial government, Patel has posted a petition on the ICCHA/Wish website to mobilize Kamloopsians in asking the government to bring a cath lab to Kamloops.

According to Richard Jewitt, health services director at RIH, a cath lab is something the hospital will consider as it develops it’s next plan for cardiac care.

“We have a cardiac plan and we’re coming towards the end of the initial iteration of that plan with the construction of the coronary care unit,” Jewitt said, noting a new plan for the next five to 10 years will involve gathering plenty of input.

Jewitt said it’s too early to say if a cath lab will be added in RIH, but noted he has heard the message from people that such a lab will eliminate the need to travel to Kelowna.

While he understands that point, Jewitt said there are many practicalities of having such a facility that will take time to consider.

He said the hospital is never in a holding pattern when it comes to health-care services, noting the main focus now is on the CCU and ongoing construction of the $417-million patient-care tower.

“I hope the Kamloops community sees progress, recognizes that it’s not always in the direction that some would want and certainly in the timelines we want, but progress is being made,” Jewitt said.

Construction on the CCU in 7 North began earlier this month.

“It essentially doubles the number of CCU beds we have on site,” Jewitt said. “Currently, we have two in our main ICU.”

Those other two beds will be repurposed for non-cardiac patients with the creation of the four new rooms, equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.

“It’s all very modern equipment and we’re looking forward to having that additional space on site,” Jewitt said.

In 2018, RIH opened a new rapid access clinic that gives patients faster access to cardiac physicians for urgent assessment. This followed the recruitment of four cardiologists, for a total of six.

The 11th annual ICCHA/Wish Fund Gala will be held this Friday at Colombo Lodge east of downtown, at 814 Lorne St.

There, next equipment fundraiser for RIH will be announced.

For details of the gala, achievements and to sign the petition, go online to or email


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