Peter Gilgan donates $30 million to St. Michael’s Hospital new patient care tower

Peter Gilgan, the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, today announced a $30 million gift toward construction of a new patient care tower for critically ill patients at St. Michael’s Hospital.

This is the single largest donation in St. Michael’s 122-year history.

It brings Gilgan’s lifetime charitable givings to $150 million. By donating to health and wellness, fitness and education causes in Canada and international aid to developing countries, he had already become part of a small group of Canadian philanthropists who have given more than $100 million.

St. Michael’s expects to break ground in January 2015 for the17-storey Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower at the northeast corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in downtown Toronto. Construction is expected to take three years, during which time the hospital will remain open.

“This generous donation by Peter Gilgan will transform patient care at St. Michael’s Hospital and help us achieve our goal of becoming the premier critical care hospital in Canada,” said Dr. Robert Howard, the hospital’s president and CEO.

St. Michael’s is already a Level 1 trauma centre, accredited to care for the most severely injured patients in the southern part of the Greater Toronto Area and South Central Ontario, as well as the most complicated trauma cases from throughout the province. But it is also the only hospital in Canada to make critical care a priority and a centrepiece of its strategic plan.

“I am so impressed with the quality, skill and professionalism of the doctors, nurses and health care workers at St. Mike’s who day in and day out do incredible work with quite frankly not the best facilities,” Gilgan said. “I am so pleased to do my part to contribute to an extraordinary new tower that will be purpose-built, state of the art and specifically designed so these amazing health teams can do even more to care for the most serious and critically ill patients.”

Critical care services focus on patients with time-sensitive conditions, often life-threatening and of sudden onset, delivered throughout the hospital, including intensive care units. Critical care requires a highly skilled and experienced team of health care providers as well as advanced technical equipment to save lives, control symptoms or provide palliative care, while bringing compassionate support to patients and families, often at end-of-life planning.

The new patient care tower has been specifically designed to care for critically ill patients—from those requiring emergency surgery to those being treated in the Coronary Care Unit, the orthopedics unit or the largest adult cystic fibrosis clinic in North America.

“With this new patient care tower, we will have the right space and the right equipment to provide the best care in Canada for critically ill patients,” Dr. Howard said. “This is a particularly ambitious goal when you consider that we are located in the heart of the biggest city in Canada and accept the sickest patients from throughout Canada’s biggest province. Our catchment area also includes a vulnerable inner city population with multiple health challenges.”

Highlights of the 250,000-square-foot tower include:

  • Five new purpose-built, state-of-the-art operating rooms designed to incorporate medical imaging equipment such as MRIs, CT scanners and X-rays
  • Having imaging equipment built into an OR allows surgeons do to more  minimally invasive procedures, which are less traumatic to patients and require shorter hospital stays
  • Two new ICUs, a general ICU and one for coronary patients
  • All in-patient rooms in the new tower will be single rooms, providing more privacy for patients and better infection control. Every room will have natural light, which has been shown to promote overall health and reduce falls.
  • Every room will have dedicated comfortable space for families, to involve them in patient care, leading to better outcomes.

The Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower is part of a larger hospital redevelopment, which includes renovations that will nearly double the size of the Emergency Department. The ED now sees close to 75,000 patients a year, about 1.5 times the number it was designed to handle. The new ED will also have a complete suite of imaging equipment fully staffed around the clock.

In the last few years, in addition to the St. Michael’s donation, Gilgan, a member of the Order of Canada, has donated $40 million to the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning at Sick Kids Hospital, $10 million to the New Oakville Hospital Foundation and $15 million to help Ryerson University build its athletic centre in the former Maple Leaf Gardens.  An avid cyclist, he has also given $6 million toward the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, which will be used for the 2015 Toronto PanAm Games.

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