Baby in Cuba to receive ventilator from Watson Lake

A one-year old girl in Cuba is scheduled to receive a life-changing medical device thanks to some equipment from the old Watson Lake hospital that was donated to MEMO. The faith-based organization sends medical equipment and supplies to Cuba and El Salvador.

Redundant medical equipment from the old Watson Lake hospital is being sent to Latin America

John and Naomi Hall of Watson Lake are volunteers with MEMO, a faith-based organization based in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Submitted by MEMO)

A baby girl in Cuba is scheduled to receive a life-changing medical device thanks, in part, to volunteers in Watson Lake, Yukon. 

In October, the Yukon Hospital Corporation donated about 60 items of medical equipment from the old Watson Lake hospital to MEMO, a Christian organization that sends medical equipment and supplies to Cuba and El Salvador. 

This ventilator from the old Watson Lake hospital will soon travel to Cuba, where it will be used by a baby who has a tracheotomy. (Submitted by MEMO)

One of the items donated, a ventilator, will go to the family of a one-year-old baby in Cuba. The baby girl was born with a condition that required her to get a tracheotomy and forced her to remain at the hospital where there is access to a ventilator to assist with breathing.

Other items sent to MEMO from the Yukon include stretchers, X-ray equipment and a maternity bed. 

John Hall of Watson Lake is a MEMO volunteer who, along with his wife Naomi, helped organize the equipment transfer.

"That's just one of those miracles," he says about the ventilator going to someone with an acute need. The device should allow the baby to leave the hospital with her parents.  

Once MEMO identified the ventilator in Watson Lake, the next challenge was transportation. Fortunately, another Watson Laker volunteered to drive the equipment to Thunder Bay, Ont., where MEMO is based. 

"Sometimes its just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and it's happened over and over again," says Hall. 

The organization says a tourist has been found to take the ventilator to Cuba at the end of January.

The Yukon Hospital Corporation says Carol Chiasson, facility administrator at Watson Lake Community Hospital, was also instrumental in helping get the permission to donate the equipment rather than throw it away.

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