Health Monitor


A new lectures series organized by the St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network and the Sturgeon Hospital Foundation is starting up next week.

PCN seniors nurse Lori Jack and Dr. Manisha Witmans, a board certified pediatric sleep medicine specialist, will present The Power of Sleep and explain how sleep affects your daily life on Tuesday.

The lecture will be held in Conference room ABC, in the basement of the Sturgeon Community Hospital at 6:30 p.m.

Further lectures in the series will be announced at a later date.

Call 780-418-7361 to register.

Representatives from St. Albert will be presenting information about local initiatives at the upcoming Grey Matters Seniors Services Conference in Red Deer next week.

The conference, hosted by Alberta Health and the Golden Circle Seniors Resource, will be held Oct. 1 and 2 as an opportunity for individuals who provide services to seniors to network and learn from each other.

Doreen Slessor, executive director of the Stop Abuse in Families Society, will be presenting on behalf of the St. Albert Seniors’ Working Group about how the group collaborates with the City of St. Albert and other organizations to offer seniors’ services.

Mayor Nolan Crouse will also be at the conference as a panelist to discuss the demand for accessible and appropriate transportation options for seniors.

The panel, which also includes Sheila Hallett, executive director of the Edmonton Seniors Co-ordinating Council and Bernie Buzik of the Wainwright and District Handivan Society, will discuss enablers and barriers to the development of sustainable models of alternate transportation for seniors throughout the province.

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In 1989 Helen Determan was told she had five years left to live.

The St. Albert woman was diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease where the bile ducts in the liver are slowly destroyed, leading to irreversible scarring of liver tissue.

After waiting two months for a suitable liver, Determan was the third patient to receive a liver transplant in Edmonton.

“I still write a thank you note and letter to the donor’s family each year,” says the mother of four and grandmother of nine.

In November, she will be celebrating her 25th transplant anniversary.

“I don’t think we ever would have predicted 25 years ago the volume of transplants today,” said hepatologist Dr. Vince Bain, who founded the program with liver transplant surgeon Dr. Norman Kneteman.

More than 1,400 individuals, mostly from Alberta and western Canada, have received new livers through the transplant program at the University of Alberta Hospital. It is the second busiest site for liver transplants in Canada.

More than 75 liver transplants were performed at the facility last year. Currently, the program has about 120 patients waiting for a liver transplant.

“Although the number of transplants performed annually is increasing, the number of patients being referred for transplant has been rising too. About one in three patients will die before a suitable liver becomes available,” said Bain, noting the number of donor organs available is one of the program’s limitations.

The greatest risk is not surgery, but waiting on the transplant list, he said.

“Waiting is far more dangerous. That’s the sad part. We have the technology and the expertise to save these patients, just an insufficient number of available organs.”

Albertans are encouraged to sign their organ and tissue donor card (on the back of their Alberta Personal Health Card), register their intent to donate online through the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry, as well as discuss their wishes with their family.


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St. Albert Gazette

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