Operating Room nurse Tammy Solecki, Clinical Practice Leader Joanne George, and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Van Zyl, stand alongside new equipment G.R. Baker’s shoulder surgery extension. (Submitted photo)

Operating Room nurse Tammy Solecki, Clinical Practice Leader Joanne George, and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Van Zyl, stand alongside new equipment G.R. Baker’s shoulder surgery extension. (Submitted photo)

New shoulder surgery program at G.R. Baker Hospital in Quesnel already getting rave reviews

The $200,000 program could support nearly 100 surgeries a year at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital

The shoulder surgery program at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital has started, and is already seeing patients.

The $200,000 program was supported by fundraising from the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, which expanded the shoulder surgical program at UHNBC to the Quesnel hospital.

The first patient was a high school teacher from Prince George, who was injured in a snowboarding accident.

“It makes total sense — when I can travel an hour down the road and get my surgery sooner, it was an easy decision to make,” Frank Balazs said in a news release.

Spirit of the North caught up with Balazs post-surgery. The first use of the equipment was delayed due to COVID-19.

“Now that its done, he is very happy,” the news release reads. “He said the staff in Quesnel were fantastic; friendly, caring and professional, and the facilities were exactly what was needed. He is on his road to recovery and we wish him well.”

Orthopedic surgeons travel to Quesnel and preform up to 96 surgeries in a year. The news release notes the equipment will decrease wait times across Northern Health for these kinds of surgeries.

“Making a difference to wait times, adding services, and increasing OR times through the purchase of additional equipment is key to moving forward for better health outcomes for residents of Northern B.C.” said Judy Neiser, CEO for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. “It truly is win-win for the service delivery area and allows residents to resume life to the fullest more quickly.”

Fundraising was given a boost from the Commonage Fund, who gave $75,000 of the $200,000 price tag.

READ MORE: Quesnel hospital upgrades set to begin this month

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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