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Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation donation helps Northwest patients get care closer to home


Seven nurses smile into the camera, holding a pediatric colonoscope.
Operating room nursing staff at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital with the new scope. (Back row: Kelsey Trask, Khaliliah Wickham, Pier Borrel, Jennifer Martin; Front row: Erin Wright, Austyn Verissimo, Katrina Torio)

Dr. Philip Nel of Prince Rupert is getting a lot of use out of the new pediatric colonoscope that was purchased last year with the help of the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.

“It gives a technical advantage in the setting of more difficult colonoscopies,” says Dr. Nel, who’s a surgeon at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, and also an instructor at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. “If I can’t get a colonoscopy done with the regular scope, I can often complete it with this one.”

Adding that this type of scope has become the go-to for facilities in Vancouver, Dr. Nel says it’s his impression that the scope leads to more success in completing colonoscopies in general, and also in avoiding the risk of ruptures.

The new scope also means patients in the Northwest don’t have to travel to Vancouver to access this specialized equipment.

You might expect a pediatric colonoscope to be smaller in size, but that’s not the case. Instead, it has improved flexibility and maneuverability.

“When we switch out and use the pediatric scope, we’re usually able to get around a difficult bend,” says Dr. Nel. “I’m very happy to say that this is definitely not a piece of equipment that will become redundant, and I would definitely consider buying another one.”

Despite its name, it can be used with patients of all ages.

The new scope was bought thanks to the help of the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.

“It’s a blessing that they are as generous as they are,” says Dr. Nel. “Without the charities, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing.”