‘Great new shining beacon’: Doctors donate $2.55 million to new St. Paul’s Hospital project

Construction has started on the $2.1-billion project on Station Street on the False Creek Flats, with construction expected to be completed in 2026

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Groups of physicians at St. Paul’s Hospital are donating $2.55 million toward the new hospital under construction in in East Vancouver.

They’re hoping donations from medical staff continue to grow before construction on the new hospital is finished in 2026.

Fundraising among physicians started in late 2019 when 14 radiologists decided to donate $1 million to the project.

“My colleagues were passionate and excited to be part of this generational opportunity,” Dr. Jonathon Leipsic, chair of the department of radiology, said Monday.

Radiologists will be making their donation over the next four years.

“We‘ve seen support from everyone — people have written cheques for $20 to $75 million,” he said, referring to the multimillion-dollar donation to St. Paul’s Foundation by businessman Jim Pattison in 2017.

Earlier this month, construction started on the $2.1-billion project on Station Street on the False Creek Flats, about three kilometres east of the current hospital site on Burrard. Called St. Paul’s Hospital at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre, the project is described as the largest hospital redevelopment in the province’s history.

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Dr. Jamil Bashir, clinical professor and division head, cardiac surgery, in the faculty of medicine at the University of B.C., said the 13 heart surgeons operating at St. Paul’s are donating $300,000 to the new hospital.

“The new St. Paul’s is just the most exciting thing to happen to health care in B.C. for 30 to 40 years “ he said.

Dr. Bashir said his three children were born at St. Paul’s and his mother is now in the hospital’s geriatric ward.

“We aren’t just doctors who work here,” he said.

“We come here when we’re sick, our families come where when they’re sick. All of us feel the need to support it and turn into this great new shining beacon for the next century.”

Dr. Jim Kim said the department’s 50 anesthesiologists have donated $1.25 million.

“When we heard that radiology had committed $1 million, we knew we had to do something,” said Kim, regional head, department of anaesthesiology.

“I challenged our group to see if we could do something that was a statement in terms of what our commitment to this new hospital. If you see what we’ve accomplished in this building, it will be unbelievable what we will accomplish at the new St. Paul’s.”

St. Paul’s has a goal of raising $225 million for the new hospital.

Last year, Postmedia reported that the St. Paul’s Burrard site was sold to developer Concord Pacific for nearly $1 billion.

The Sisters of Providence, a Roman Catholic religious order, founded St. Paul’s Hospital in 1894. The original building at St. Paul’s dates from 1912-13. Over the years, it has grown to include two wings and a pair of 10-storey towers.

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