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Donation breathes life into patients at Campbell River Hospital

Mike Seib donates two breathing machines to local hospital lacking such equipment

When Mike Seib learned a patient couldn’t return home because Campbell River Hospital was lacking the necessary equipment, Seib knew he had to help.

Seib, who owns Island CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) in Courtenay, was told by a colleague that a patient she was working with at Victoria hospital, who was having trouble breathing, couldn’t be transferred back home because Campbell River Hospital didn’t have the right machine.

So Seib, a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, decided to donate two BiPAP machines to Campbell River Hospital – a donation valued at $7,000.

The BiPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) machine pushes air through a face mask into a patient’s lungs and then helps to keep the lungs open to allow more oxygen to enter.

The machine is often used to help people with sleep apnea by pumping more air into their lungs while sleeping. In the hospital, the machines will help patients with an array of medical issues, particularly those recovering from surgery said Craig McDermid, respiratory therapist at Campbell River Hospital.

“Patients sometimes gain a fair amount of weight after surgery and end up with sleep apnea because of that or it’s the sedatives for pain post-op such as morphine that cause sleep apnea,” McDermid said.

“We use (the BiPAP) to support them during post-op stays.”

McDermid said he’s found the BiPAP has in some cases shortened the length of a patient’s hospital stay following an operation because the chances of post-surgery complications go down because they’re getting more rest and a better night’s sleep, which helps to speed up recovery.

McDermid said in some cases, the BiPAP can also work as a ventilator, which provides oxygen to the lungs without having to put a tube down a patient’s throat.

The machines can be used to support patients with conditions such as cardiac failure, adult respirator distress syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia.