Partnerships with Donors like Enbridge Make a Difference



Had it happened just days earlier, the outcome might have been very different. But for the man driving to the Sanford Medical Center in the small northern Minnesota city of Bemidji, it was his lucky day – as lucky a day as a person having a heart attack can have. "Within 69 minutes of arriving at our door, the cardiac team was placing stents in his heart, and saved his life," said Penny Echternach, the Executive Director of the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota.

The man having the heart attack that day was the first critical patient to be treated in a brand new, 24-hour cardiac care unit at the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. This cardiac care unit and a state-of-the-art robotic surgical console are two key advances realized through Sanford’s Together. For Life campaign, funded through partnerships with donors like Enbridge.

Investing in the communities along its right-of-way is a guiding principle for Enbridge. Over the past decade, Enbridge has contributed more than $50 million to charitable, non-profit and community organizations in Canada and the United States, strengthening the communities in which it operates.

Enbridge’s $10,000 USD contribution to the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota is a natural fit for the company, which operates throughout the communities that use the medical centre, said Becky Haase, Stakeholder Relations Specialist at Enbridge.

“It’s a rewarding contribution when it overlaps so well with our own footprint of operations. It really brings home the heart of Enbridge’s community investment program,” Haase said.

Enbridge pooled available resources from three areas of enterprise operations – U.S. Liquids Pipelines community investment, Superior Region community investment, and the company’s Mainline Enhancement Project – to turn the partnership into reality. Haase said the collaboration was well worth the effort, considering the program’s community impact.

“It’s exciting to support quality health care in Northern Minnesota,” she said. “We want to give back to those communities along our right-of-way, and make them better places to live.”

Bemidji’s location makes it a health-care hub for the rural communities of northern Minnesota, which means the hospital in the city of 13,000 residents sees as many as 150,000 patients in a year. “Given the number of people who look to us for their health care, keeping up with the latest technology and services so that people get the care they need right at home is crucial. So is attracting the best physicians for our patients,” Echternach said.

In the past, patients in need of cardiac care have often been airlifted to another facility, typically in Duluth or Fargo, N.D., often more than an hour away. With a blocked artery, each passing second increases the risk of permanent heart damage. On-site cardiologists and their surgical teams are now able to open blocked arteries within moments of a patient arriving, saving valuable hours and minimizing the risk of sustained illness or fatality.

The second technological advance achieved through the Together. For Life campaign is the da Vinci robotic surgery console. Where a surgeon’s hand can move a centimetre, the da Vinci, guided by the surgeon’s hand, can move a millimetre. It allows the surgeon greater precision and, literally, inhuman accuracy. For patients, that means a shorter recovery time, reduced risk of infection, and access to the kind of qualified surgeons drawn to hospitals with this technology.

The two advances purchased through this campaign are vastly different, but Echternach said they are alike in the scope of their positive effect on patient care.

“Both (the cardiac unit and the da Vinci console) are really truly important, and will have a huge impact on the community,” she said. “Enbridge’s gift helped make them possible . . . Enbridge can really be proud of being a part of that, and bringing that here for us.”

To support the Sanford Children’s Center of Excellence in Bismarck, visit Bismarck.SanfordHealth.org/Foundation or call (701) 323-8450.

Posted Date: November 2013

Partnerships with Donors like Enbridge Make a Difference

A new 24-hour cardiac care unit at the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and a state-of-the-art robotic surgical console are two key advances realized through Sanford’s Together. For Life campaign, funded through partnerships with donors like Enbridge.