Some lucky residents got a first-hand glimpse of BC’s unique Mobile Medical Unit at Queen Victoria Hospital earlier this week.
The MMU is a $5 million set of 75-foot tractor trailers that were originally purchased by VANOC for the 2010 Winter Games.
“The IOC required Whistler to have a surgical unit in Whistler,” said Registered Nurse Brandon James, adding that the optimal solution was to purchase what amounted to a mobile clinic.
Built in Chicago, Ill., by Oshkosh, the MMU has a suite of diagnostic imaging devices, a surgical bay and all of the scalpels, scissors, bandages and drugs you could want in one tractor-trailer that has expandable sides. The other trailer that accompanies the actual MMU carries medical supplies, generators and other equipment. After the Games the MMU was purchased by the province and acts as a portable backup to hospitals and clinics. Staffed, as required, by a doctor and four nurses it can also be swiftly deployed to disaster scenes. The MMU could have been useful in Alberta when floods ravaged that province this summer, but — surprisingly — there is no inter-provincial agreement on sharing this kind of resource.
It has most recently been deployed to Surrey, Pemberton and Penticton and is slated to go to Kitimat to provide a backup while that community’s hospital is undergoing some renovations.