The Royal Columbian Hospital is the major tertiary referral hospital of the Fraser Health Authority, serving a population of 1.6 million from Burnaby to Hope, as well as some referral patients from outside the region. RCH has about 350 beds and 420 medical staff including 35 staff anesthesiologists. It is a true general hospital, providing essentially all services except transplantation and general ophthalmology, and is one of the four provincial cardiac care centers as well as a major center for neurosurgery, vascular, trauma and high-risk maternity care. The cardiac surgery program undertakes 800 open cases yearly as well as an active TAVI program, and cardiac electrophysiology, and some interventional cardiac procedures are also supported. The Cardiac Surgery ICU is under the direction of the Department. The department website is www.rchanesthesia.com, and www.fraserhealth.ca is the region’s global website.
Eagle Ridge Hospital
The Eagle Ridge Hospital, located in Port Moody (20 minutes north of the RCH) functions as a small but busy community hospital with 83 inpatient beds and 6 operating theaters undertaking 6000 procedures yearly. It has a very busy ambulatory surgical practice, together with a small inpatient surgical practice. The RCH anesthesia staff rotate through the ERH in the “common” department.
Acute Pain Service
The RCH Acute Pain Service has a busy inpatient program serving the operating rooms and some acute trauma (thoracic injury) patients. There is an anesthesiologist assigned to the service daily who visits patients with an experienced nurse clinician. This is an active service whose functioning has allowed the hospital to considerably increase it’s throughput.
Chronic Pain Service
The RCH has one physician particularly interested in regional blocks for the diagnosis and amelioration of chronic pain conditions. There is limited hospital support for this service in terms of facilities and staffing, therefore while the Anesthesia department would like to expand the service it will be an ongoing project for the forseeable future.
The RCH is a provincial tertiary obstetric hospital with an active referral program and a well-reputed intensive care nursery staffed by in-house consultant obstetricians and neonatologists. Obstetric patients with complicating medical conditions receive care in a facility whose particular advantage is that of the general hospital with clinicians familiar with dealing with a wide range of pathologies.
Opportunities exist to undertake clinical research at the RCH, with the availability of staffing and funding support. The major activity in the recent past has been in the area of investigational pharmaceutical studies, but there is interest in the staff in expanding beyond that. The RCH was a major center for the POISE study, an outcome study funded by the CIHR and coordinated by the Clinical Evaluation Unit of MacMaster University. There is active collaboration with the Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team of the BC Children’s Hospital. We have collaborated with engineering faculty at both UBC and SFU in undergraduate projects.
The RCH serves as a popular training hospital for UBC Anesthesia residents, with it’s congenial faculty and broad range of clinical opportunities. It is equipped with modern anesthetic machines and an extensive collection of adjuct equipment (bronchoscopes, airway equipment such as bullard laryngoscopes, nerve location equipment, ultrasound, echocardiography). Faculty are enthusiastic about regional techniques as well as a variety of techniques of general anesthesia.
The RCH accepts third year students as a regular rotation (and receives excellent ratings) as well as UBC students undertaking fourth year electives and those from other Canadian medical schools.
The RCH faculty have been traditionally enthusiastic supporters of anesthesiologists and family physicians providing anesthesia services, welcoming those individuals who request further experience and training in a modern teaching hospital. We have had physicians from Australia, Yukon Territory, the north coast and the Kootenay regions of BC who have expressed great satisfaction with their experience.