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Hometown: the doctor is in the house

Dr. Ivan Scrooby is helping lead the charge in the fight against COVID-19 in Williams Lake
Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby says while the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time it is also presents Canada with an opportunity to find innovative ways to become more independent. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby sees the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for Canadians to become more self-sufficient.

A lakecity resident for the last 18 years, Scrooby has taken on many responsibilities including helping Cariboo Memorial Hospital create a negative pressure unit to ensure the hospital is prepared to handle patients that require hospitalization because of the virus if the need should arise.

Read More:Flood repairs result in new COVID-19 respiratory unit at Cariboo Memorial Hospital

There is an opportunity to do a lot of things to make things easier during a difficult time, he said.

“It’s kind of an exciting time to be Canadian, considering some of the challenges we have with supply chains. I think it is really critical for us as Canadians to start thinking about how we can do things in a different way.”

He cited a company that has started producing N95 masks in Coquitlam with pulp that comes from Harmac Pacific in Nanaimo.

Read more: ‘It’s job No. 1 right now’: Harmac Pacific providing pulp for critical medical supplies

“Instead of selling the pulp to the States and them making N95s and then selling back to us, we can make N95s in Coquitlam,” Scrooby said. “We’ve got people, technology and skilled workers, and there’s a whole bunch of things we can do. There are so many things we can do to change the world and make it better.”

Canada can become more independent, he added.

Recently a bracket for a mask was recreated by teacher Nick MacDonald at Lake City Secondary School Columneetza Campus for the hospital, which Scrooby said is an example of being innovative.

“This virus has challenged our world and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to say, ‘heh man, we can do things in a different way,’ ‘maybe we should just pull together and see what we can do.’”

There are several projects that are obvious to him that could be used for medical purposes.

“There are ways to improve the way we do things and it would be great to start pulling together those with software, bioengineering skills and construction skills to work together to solve problems.”

He would love to see a project like Coquitlam’s with the making of N95 masks in Williams Lake.

Williams Lake was hurt during the fires, lots of people lost their jobs and it’s been a ‘tough go,’ he added.

“Now we have this virus and it’s the second time we have a big blow in three years. I think we have an opportunity to build papers. There are smaller one you can make. There’s a company in the States and the patent has expired and they are so busy they cannot even communicate or sell anything to us because the supply chain is a problem. But that doesn’t mean they have to be the only manufacturer.”

Read More: COVID-19: Williams Lake dentists install negative pressure room to care for emergency cases

Running a little project together would be easy if locally a group of interested people could come up with a nice design.

“If we are successful bringing this to Williams Lake, it will ultimately result in job security for some people and a really good story for us. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Scrooby and his wife, Heleen arrived in Williams Lake in 2002. Originally from South Africa the Scroobys have four children. Some of their sons have been making headbands that hook on to masks with a 3D printer at home.

In 2014 Scrooby opened a methadone clinic in Williams Lake with fellow physician Dr. Roland Engelbrecht.

Scrooby said he loves Williams Lake and feels destined to be helpful to the community during this global pandemic.

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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