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Whitefish couple makes $1M donation to hospital

Katriina Ruotsalo and Craig Fielding buy a portable heart-lung machine and three anesthetic machines
Craig Fielding and Katriina Ruotsalo, owners of Northern Legacy Horse Farm in Whitefish, donated $1 million to Health Sciences North this month to purchase equipment to support the hospital’s efforts treating COVID-19 patients. (Supplied)

A Whitefish couple has made a $1 million donation to Health Sciences North.

The donation from Craig Fielding and Katriina Ruotsalo was announced today by the hospital. 

The owners of Northern Legacy Horse Farm, the couple’s donation will help buy a new ECMO Machine (portable heart-lung support system) that provides critical respiratory care for some of the most acute patients in the intensive care unit. 

In patients with severe pneumonia and the flu, the hospital explained the ECMO machine pumps blood around a patient’s body until their own heart and lungs are strong enough.

A portion of the donation will also purchase three anesthetic machines, a new heart-lung machine for post-operative open heart surgery patients, and a new mask-fit testing machine.

“Katriina and I are proud to make an impact on the health care of northerners, and support front-line workers, especially during this pandemic,” Fielding said in the release.  “We hope we can play a role in ensuring patients get the care they need close to home during challenging times and hopefully inspire others who are able to consider supporting our outstanding hospital.”

“This gift will have an immediate impact on how health care is provided in NortheasternOntario,” said Anthony Keating, president and chief development officer, foundations and volunteer groups at HSN.

In order for the hospital to be ready for a surge in COVID-19 patients, HSN has had to invest in the expansion of the emergency department and the intensive care unit, and to relocate patients who don’t need acute care.

Funds from this donation will help cover the additional supplies, equipment and staffing costs that HSN has incurred because of this work.

”The community is really stepping up to the plate,” said Dominic Giroux, president and CEO of HSN, in a news release.