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Better quality of life for hospital patients thanks to Sault woman's generous donation

30 new hemodialysis treatment machines purchased for SAH patients
20171122-SAH Renal Unit-DT
Dr. David Berry, SAH chief of renal medicine, Catherine Maccarone, SAH registered nurse, Moyra O’Pallie and Chris Braido, SAH hemodialysis patient, Nov. 22, 2017. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Sault Area Hospital hemodialysis patients are now experiencing a better quality of life thanks to a very generous donation from a good-hearted Sault Ste. Marie woman.

A total of 30 new hemodialysis machines were installed in October by SAH after they were purchased from B. Braun, a German medical and pharmaceutical device company, after the Sault’s Moyra O’Pallie stepped in with her donation in memory of her husband Edward O’Pallie.

O’Pallie was a well-known local business owner who operated Furs by O’Pallie.

He passed away from congestive heart failure in 2014.

No official dollar figure was given, but Moyra O’Pallie’s donation for purchase of the 30 machines was described as “extremely generous” by SAH staff Wednesday.

After relocating to southern Ontario, her husband’s health deteriorating and faced with the daunting task of driving from Alliston, Ontario to Toronto for medical treatment, Moyra said the couple decided to come back to Sault Ste. Marie.

“After my husband passed away I figured it was time to help other people,” Moyra said of her donation to SAH.

“I came to the (Sault Area Hospital) Foundation and said I’d like to do something in his memory to help other people.”

“I did this because I thought it would be a great way for people to extend their lives by having such up to date machinery,” Moyra told us.

“It felt very real,” said Moyra of her first official glimpse of the new technology at work at SAH Wednesday.

“These are people that I pass on the street every day in the Sault, and when I think of all these people that are in and out of this room on these machines that I supported, I feel very good about it. I’m not bragging about it, but I feel good about it. It’s stewardship,” Moyra said.   

“It’s easier on my system when I leave. A lot of times I just used to go home and go to bed, with no energy, it (hemodialysis treatment) just drained me. Now I feel I have a bit more energy,” patient Chris Braido told us.

Braido spends four hours receiving hemodialysis treatment at SAH Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.

“The next day I feel 100 per cent better. On Saturday and Sunday I feel absolutely normal and all weekend long I feel really good,” said Braido, an Essar Steel Algoma employee who has been receiving hemodialysis treatments for the past three years.

“I walk, on average, at work five to seven kilometres a day and at weekends I try to exercise because I have a health club membership,” said Braido, who occupies his mind reading and watching a SAH-supplied television while receiving dialysis treatments.

“It’s important to note there are different varieties of dialysis that can be done with this machine which we didn’t have before, and therefore the doctors have chosen this particular one for him based on his health, so it gives him a better quality of life,” said Catherine Maccarone, SAH registered nurse, as Braido nodded in agreement.

“I just want to say, on behalf of the entire patient care team at the renal care program, ‘thank you’ to Mrs. O’Pallie for her generous gift. We accept it with gratitude, we’re flattered, and above all we’re very humbled at receiving such a marvellous gift,” said Dr. David Berry, SAH chief of renal medicine.The need for new dialysis equipment was identified two years ago, Berry told SooToday.

“These machines have artificial intelligence built in that monitors a patient’s blood pressure and other parameters constantly. By doing that, the machine actually learns what works with the patient and what doesn’t work and is able to gradually predict how the patient is going to do ahead of time on a more precise time scale than we’re able to provide doing it manually. It’s safer and more effective and far more comfortable for the patient,” Berry explained.

SAH is the first health care facility in North America to use B. Braun’s artificial intelligence technology, said SAH medical staff.

There are approximately 1,200 renal patients in the Sault and area, with approximately 80 receiving hemodialysis treatment at SAH, hospital medical staff said.