Manitobans with kidney stones, prostate issues and some types of bladder cancer will get faster treatment at Health Sciences Centre thanks to a $1-million donation from the Dufresne family.
The owners of the Dufresne furniture and appliance retail chain made the donation to the Health Sciences Centre Foundation to help in the creation of a world-class urologic centre at Manitoba's largest hospital.
"We sell furniture, but we're involved in people's lives and families all the time and health is at the top of the list," Mark Dufresne, CEO of the Dufresne Group, said Thursday.
"By looking after these people, it will also free up the operating rooms so the overall efficiency of the ORs will be much better... we have heard the vision of the (foundation) and we have bought into that vision."
HSC Foundation president and CEO Jonathon Lyon said the Manitoba Urologic Centre, which is expected to be open by fall 2023 in the former Women's Hospital on Notre Dame Avenue, will shorten waits and improve care for about 10,000 patients each year.
"We're grateful for (the Dufresne family's) tremendous generosity and that they have chosen to support the Manitoba Urologic Centre in this exceptional way," said Lyon.
Prostate surgery, kidney-stone removal and treating some forms of bladder cancer are among the services that will be done at the facility. Wait times for some of those procedures, which were about six months before the pandemic, have now increased to about a year.
The centre is expected to significantly reduce wait times.
In a statement, HSC urologist Dr. Jeff Saranchuk said "under current conditions, patients have to wait far too long for the care they need" and they often suffer in pain. Sometimes, patients have to use a catheter the entire time they are waiting for a procedure. The longer they have to use it, the higher the risk to their kidneys.
"The new centre will help us reduce wait times from up to one year to weeks, which will improve patients' recoveries and reduce the risk of complications. Additionally, thanks to donors like the Dufresne family, we will be able to acquire the latest equipment to perform minimally invasive procedures.
"We are very grateful that this project is moving forward."
Dufresne said his family is also pleased that when urologic procedures are performed in the new facility, HSC's operating rooms will be freed up for patients with other urgent surgical needs.
He said he's hopeful others will follow his family's philanthropic example.
"There's no doubt from our perspective we would be thrilled if that is the outcome," he said. "This will benefit all Manitobans. We are so grateful we can do this."
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