Doctor shares memories of WDMH at the 75th anniversary AGM

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submitted by Jane Adams

Dr. Gerry Rosenquist knows a lot about Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH). In fact, he worked at the hospital for 55 of its 75 years of caring. At the WDMH Annual General Meeting on June 28th, he shared many special memories – everything from the early use of penicillin to WDMH’s pioneering role in laparoscopic surgery.

In his early days at WDMH, things were much different. “The Emergency Department was looked after by the charge nurse in the evenings and at night. Doctors, x-ray, and lab techs were not on site, but were called in if needed. All the physicians, except for Dr. Duane Justus, did a bit of everything from surgery to delivering babies to looking after heart attack and stroke patients.”

Dr. Rosenquist explained how advances in medications, managing diseases, surgical techniques and even car safety have impacted the care provided at hospitals. “In the late sixties, motor vehicle accidents became less serious because safety glass and seat belts began to be used. Very few serious head injuries or massive lacerations from shards of broken glass were seen in the ER after these innovations.”

“We live in exciting times,” summed up Dr. Rosenquist. “It’s a phrase that has been used often in the past to describe new discoveries, procedures or technology. I think we can certainly echo that today as we look at our technologically advanced hospital. We have the same number of beds as we did when I arrived, but now there are many more doctors on staff and the ability to offer many more services. It’s remarkable.”

As WDMH celebrates its 75th anniversary, the AGM provides a chance to look back and look to the future. Here are just a few of the programs and initiatives that we are proud of this year:

Quality and patient safety remain our #1 priority – guided by the Patient Care Improvement Plan (PCIP).

We care for more than 80,000 patients annually. Patient satisfaction remains very high thanks to our committed team.

It was an Epic year at WDMH with the implementation of our new electronic health record system.

Programs and services are being added or expanded, including a Pulmonary Function Testing Clinic and a Lung Screening Program. We have also launched a volunteer program in the Emergency Department to support patients and families.

We continue to work with our local health partners to advance the Great River Ontario Health Team.

Our appreciation is extended to the Finance team for another clean audit as confirmed by the external auditors. For the first time in 15 years, WDMH has a deficit and like hospitals across the Province, we are working closely with the Ministry of Health to find solutions.

Our research program is growing. WDMH is now a leader in Health Canada-approved clinical trials, supporting patients and offering benefits such as new treatments or better drug options.

WDMH is an employer of choice as we have welcomed new staff, physicians, and midwives. In fact, we are almost fully staffed, despite the health human resources challenges over the past several years. We also continue to welcome students throughout the hospital.

Through Recreation Committee events, our Commitment Awards, and community initiatives such as the Christmas Angel program, our team continues to take time to have fun and be #WDMHProud.

The WDMH Foundation has had another wonderful year of working with generous donors to support both WDMH and Dundas Manor, including the launch of the campaign for the new long-term care home.

CEO Cholly Boland thanked the team that helps make WDMH strong. “Thank you to the WDMDH team – close to 900 staff, physicians, volunteers, and students. Each day, our team works together to fulfill our commitment of Compassionate Excellence. Thank you as well to our local communities for your ongoing support. From your positive feedback to your acts of kindness, particularly throughout the pandemic, we are grateful. And thank you to our closest colleagues – the WDMH Auxiliary (which is also celebrating its 75th birthday this year), the Patient and Family Engagement Committee, Dundas Manor Long-Term Care Home, our partners in the Community Care and Dillabough buildings, as well as the donors and staff at the WDMH Foundation. Together, we care for our local communities.” 

At the end of the AGM, Tom Clapp thanked everyone who works at WDMH for their commitment and hard work. “We are so lucky to have you close to home,” he said.

If you would like to provide comments or suggestions about hospital services, please contact Cholly Boland, President and CEO, Winchester District Memorial Hospital at 613.774.1049 or by email at cboland@wdmh.on.ca.

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