The Foundation at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) is pleased to announce that a major donation has recently been made by local businessman and philanthropist, Ken Lepin. The funds have been used to purchase a much-needed Isoplater, used in the hospital laboratory. Mr. Lepin explains why he donated, “I am somewhat competitive, and when another city gets all the new lab equipment and expects our lab work to go there, I say NO.  We will do it here and get the results in a matter of hours.”

At a cost of $90,000, the Isoplater is a sophisticated petri dish streaking instrument that is designed to provide safe and highly reproducible streaking of patient sample on culture media.  Previously this was done by hand, which was very laborious with potential inconsistencies and higher risk of exposure to pathogens. With the new machine, lab technicians are more protected, and the procedure itself is much faster with a higher degree of accuracy.

According to Deb Eckert, Operations Supervisor – Microbiology, “This new machine is a life saver. We had a request for a new machine as we could not get parts or ongoing service for the old machine. When it broke down for good several months ago, we were in a bind as we had to resort to doing cultures by hand, which is really time consuming. Now with the new Isoplater, the MLAs (Microbiology Lab Assistants) can focus on other tasks.” The new machine, which is used 24/7, is an essential piece of equipment in the Lab; the technicians are thrilled with it.

Microbiology Lab Assistant, Jackie Touring, uses the new Isoplater

“Due to the fact that the Lab at the hospital works in the background, it is often overlooked. But actually, it is the one area that deals with almost every patient in the hospital. The work that it does is essential and time is of the essence, so being able to purchase equipment such as the Isoplater, which increases the speed and efficiency of the tasks, is incredibly important. Thanks to donations such as this one from Ken Lepin, we are able to continually strive for quality improvement,” explained Heidi Coleman, RIH Foundation CEO.

Mr. Lepin has been a high-profile donor to the RIH Foundation for more than 25 years and has given over one million dollars to RIH Foundation during this time. In recent years, he has contributed significantly to the new ICU, Operating Room expansion, and critical equipment for the RIH Lab. Thanks to Mr. Lepin, the lab has received a tissue immunohistochemistry stainer that is used in cancer diagnosis, a molecular genetic tester for viruses (including COVID-19 coronavirus) and Clostridium difficile, a high performance liquid chromatography instrument for diabetes care, a microbial culture isoplater, and a MALDITOF mass spectrometer. The latter is a revolutionary technology that allows for the identification of infectious bacteria many hours before traditional methods. Rapid bacterial identification allows for more tailored and effective antibiotic treatment. He also funded the theatre, which bears his name, in the Clinical-Services Building at RIH.