Every full-time doctor at the Dartmouth General is chipping in for the hospital’s expansion

After years of waiting, the three-storey expansion at the Dartmouth General Hospital is set to officially open Tuesday and those who will work in the new space are invested in more ways than one.

Every full-time physician at the hospital has donated to the Dartmouth, N.S., hospital foundation’s fundraising campaign. Combined, the 85 doctors have committed to giving $660,000 to pay for some of the equipment that they will soon be using.

“I think it speaks to the culture at the Dartmouth General,” said Dr. Carla Pittman, a radiologist at the hospital and co-chair of the Above and Beyond fundraising campaign.

“Every health-care facility in the province and in Canada has huge challenges in health care and funding. I think what the physicians saw in this was an opportunity to really step up and invest in each other and the patients.”

Pittman said it’s common for staff to chip in on hospital projects, but she said the typical giving rate for physicians is 18 per cent across Canada.

She was astounded when, just a few weeks ago, they realized every physician had signed donor cards pledging to invest in the hospital.

What the money will be used for

She said the money will be used to buy the commonplace equipment in the operating rooms and some radiology equipment.

“I like to think that when you come to the Dartmouth General and your physician in the OR picks up a piece of equipment that this campaign has funded, you know that they’re as invested as anybody,” said Pittman.

The expansion of the hospital includes new operating rooms with advanced lighting systems. Two of those rooms will be dedicated to orthopedic surgeries. There’s also a new sterilization department.

What work remains

Work at the hospital will continue for the next year and a half as the fifth-floor is developed, and the building undergoes a significant renovation.

Pittman said they’ll go from 950 employees to 1,250 in that time.

In total, the Above and Beyond campaign is trying to raise $13 million. Pittman said they’re less than a million away from that number.

She said other staff members, including nurses, technologists and auxiliary members have also made donations.

“I really think that this just reflects how the Dartmouth General [community] has been able to sort of step up and come together when the opportunity presented itself to them,” said Pittman.

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