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Wednesday, December 21, 2016 in Foundations, Royal University Hospital

Story courtesy Royal University Hospital Foundation

When a Code Blue alert sounds at Royal University Hospital (RUH), it's calling for the hospital-wide immediate Code Blue team response to a specific and urgent crisis situation. When that happens – as it does two or three times a week – the team rushes to the patient's bedside with a Code Blue cart. As the seconds tick by, every move matters and any delay could be fatal.

The cart is key in the Code Blue alert. But at present, the Code Blue carts at RUH are in severe need of an upgrade. Some don't steer properly. Many of the drawers either stick or won't open at all. Not all of these current carts are uniform, so supplies are stored in different places on different carts. The consequences include team frustration and lost moments when time is critical.

This lack of standardization matters, and you can help. With your donation – whether big or small – Royal University Hospital Foundation will support the purchase of 30 new Code Blue carts and thereby supply our staff with tools they need to help save lives every day at RUH.

"When we as a Code Blue team respond to a Code Blue situation, it's a matter of life and death and every second counts. To spend any time searching for supplies or trying to figure out where they're located, that's wasted time and that will impact the patient's outcome," says Lisa Collard, manager of the Coronary Care Unit, Heart Health Operations.

It's for priorities like this that RUH Foundation is raising $20 million through the GREATE.R. Campaign. Eight million dollars will go toward leading-edge technology and equipment at RUH, including $210,000 for 30 new Code Blue carts.

Collard and Erin Wiens are co-chairs of the Code Blue Committee, a region-wide committee working toward improvements for Code Blue teams at Saskatoon's three hospitals. St. Paul's and City hospitals already have the standardized carts.

 Lisa Collard and Erin Wiens, co-chairs of the Code Blue Committee

"RUH is now the last [Saskatoon] hospital that needs the support and funding for purchasing new Code Blue carts; once that happens, the carts will be standard throughout the entire region," Wiens says.

Amongst our city's three hospitals, often staff change location rather than transferring patients. Having the same carts at all sites will allow for safer and more effective care during crisis situations.

Wiens further explains that "Code Blue carts typically contain a defibrillator, a monitor, IV and lab supplies, a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope and medications. Currently every cart at RUH is different and often extra supplies from various units get put into them. Then in a high-pressure event, the nurses must open every drawer, wasting precious seconds rummaging for what they need. In a situation where every person on the team has their adrenaline pumping, we need to know exactly where every item is. Time is a factor."

New carts cost approximately $7,000 each. A donation of any size to the GREATE.R. Campaign will help save lives at RUH. Whether it's $70 or $7,000, every gift counts!

"We often think that we need big dollars all of the time in order to make big impacts within health care," says Collard. "But the purchase of new carts is an example where a few thousand dollars makes a huge difference in a life-and-death patient care situation."

Wiens says patients inarguably will benefit from donations to RUH Foundation's GREATE.R. Campaign. Once the current outdated and problematic Code Blue carts are replaced, staff will be able instantly to access the right piece of equipment at the right time to treat patients in a highly critical situation. Donors will be helping to purchase the newest in critical care and trauma equipment.

For more information or to learn how you can support The GREATE.R. Campaign, contact Lisa Laskowski, Chief Development Officer, at 306-655-6530 or donate online at

Last Modified: Thursday, December 22, 2016 |
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