Lakeshore General opens four new ICU rooms

The Lakeshore General hospital inaugurated four new intensive care rooms on Monday — rooms which officials say could potentially save hundreds of lives on the West Island over the next year.

The opening constitutes the first first phase of a $4.9 million project which will also see the other 11 ICU rooms at the Lakeshore get an upgrade, and the hospital's eight cardiology beds moved to the ICU floor. The work is expected to be complete by this coming fall.

Dr. Robert Salasidis, the director of the Lakeshore's ICU, says adding the four new beds will make it easier for the hospital to accommodate the needs of an aging population on the West Island — particularly in times when the demand is greatest, such as during flu season.

"It's not uncommon that we'd have all of our beds full, most patients being on machines for breathing, on ventilators," Dr. Salasidis says, "and we're scrambling to decide where to put the rest, having to transfer people to other hospitals sometimes because there's no space."

Dr. Salasidis says when it's not busy, they would be able to use the equipment to treat other patients and help speed up their recovery — including some emergency room patients.

A large chunk of the money for the new rooms came from the Trottier Family Foundation, while the rest came from other private donations.

The Quebec health ministry is chipping in another $2 million to help cover the operating costs.

Two West Island MNAs were on hand on Monday for the ribbon-cutting — Jacques-Cartier MNA Geoff Kelley and Robert-Baldwin MNA Carlos Leitao.