Dignitaries attend the hospital’s 60th-anniversary party last week. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Ridge Meadows Hospital after 60 years

New MRI machine, CT scanner expected in 2019.

As celebrations got underway for the Ridge Meadows Hospital’s 60th anniversary, the talk was not all about the past, but the future.

The hospital, on Laity Street, opened in 1958, and has grown in size and stature since.

“When we think that the site started with less than 70 staff and a $175,000 budget. We now have well over 1,000 staff all the physicians and I think over 400 volunteers as well,” said Valerie Spurrell, executive director of the Ridge Meadows Hospital.

The hospital began with the Baillie family selling land for it, between Lougheed Highway and River Road, for $1.

The Ridge Meadows Hospital Auxiliary started raising money for the hospital five years before it was built.

In 1973, one of the residential care wings was added, as was another in 1984.

The west wing was added in 1978, and the third floor of the ICU and surgery wing in 1988.

The new discharge planning unit opened in 1994, then the McKenney Creek Hospice and the Carelife building residential care in 2006.

The new psychiatric unit and the ER ambulatory care unit opened in 2009.

Ridge Meadows Hospital now has 125 acute care beds, including 20 psychiatric beds and 10 convalescent beds. It also has 10 hospice beds and 148 residential care beds.

Next year, the hospital will be undertaking two major projects.

One is the acquisition of a new magnetic resonance imaging machine. The other is a new computed tomography scanner.

Laurier Nobert, director of medical imaging with Vancouver Coastal Health, explained to dignitaries gathered at the Sept. 27 celebration that the new MRI machine – 1.5T a MR SIGNA Artist, by General Electric Healthcare – is worth more than $1.6 million

MRIs create images of the inside of the body, from the brain to the heart, as well as bones and joints. One can also be used to visualize inside blood vessels and organs, arteries and veins.

“The great thing about this MRI that we did choose is that it offers some patient comfort amenities,” said Nobert.

“For some patients, especially those who have anxiety or claustrophobia or stuff like that, it’s sometimes a little more comfortable if they go in feet first because they can still feel like they are still outside,” he added.

“So I can actually put you in feet-first or head-first and still scan every part of your body.”

Nobert also said the new machine will be quieter than previous ones.

“You barely hear it outside of the room.”

The new MRI machine is expected at the hospital within a year, while the CT scanner is expected sometime in 2019.

Both machines were paid for by Fraser Health.

The CT scanner cost $748,000.

Dignitaries at the 60th-anniversary celebration spoke about their connections to Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MLA Lisa Beare thanked the hospital foundation and its members, who take the time to work with people who are vulnerable in our community.

“You do such fantastic work.”

David Thompson, vice-president of community hospitals and programs with Fraser Health, was assigned to the Ridge Meadows Hospital as a director with Fraser Health in 2001, “when there was some job action going on.

He thanked staff, physicians, volunteers, the foundation and auxiliary for their dedication and commitment to meet the needs of the people they serve.

“I have to say, personally, Ridge Meadows Hospital has a very special place in my heart.”

Maple Ridge Coun. Gordy Robson was at the opening of the hospital when he was 12 years old.

“And that’s when I lost my mother, because she came to work here,” he said.

“She worked in maternity for 25 years and we never saw her on another holiday,” adding that she was proud of her contribution, as was his family.


(Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS) Laura Butler, executive director of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, conducts tours during the hospital’s 60th-anniversary party.

A new sacred, quiet space at the hospital. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Just Posted

Long-time Maple Ridge business hit by downtown road construction

Last phase of improvement project to start on other side of highway

News Views: New leaf

Some warn recreational cannabis use will increase now.

Pitt Meadows airport getting $60 million in investment

‘Increased air traffic is being planned over the objections of neighbours’

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

VIDEO: Fire crew mopping up workshop fire near Golden Ears Bridge

Structure fire at 208 and 102B sending plumes of black smoke into air above Walnut Grove

Look inside Maple Ridge’s new homeless housing

53 units of supportive housing officially opened on Friday

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read