Last month, in a small ceremony in the foyer of the medical ward at Whanganui Hospital, four new nebulisers were handed over to hospital staff by local Freemasons.
Due to the generosity of five Masonic Lodges and three personal donations, Freemasons from the Ruapehu District were able to purchase four Medix Econoneb Nebulisers for use on the medical ward.
W Bro Neil Elgar, PGIG, opened the proceedings, saying how if it was not for Laurie Hunt, prominent Marton citizen and past district grand master, this would not have happened.
"He was a patient in the hospital a year or so ago and found an absolute dependency on the nebuliser but they weren't in great supply... he found there was a real need. So he started it off."
Neil then read a letter from Laurie, who now lives with family in Ashburton.
"My best wishes to the nurses of the Whanganui DHB. The nebuliser project has been a year in the making, but with the help of the Masonic Lodges in the Whanganui Hospital district, we've been able to raise enough money to purchase four nebulisers for the medical ward, to relieve the shortage on that ward. With my medical complaint I was able to notice first hand the acute shortage of these machines. The nurses were always trying to keep track of the one and only machine that was working. I hope these nebulisers will make a difference and take the stress off the nursing staff and patients that get relief that the nebulisers will provide."
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Neil introduced Freemasons from the local lodges that assisted with the funds. Contributing lodges were United Wanganui, Tongariro Lodge EC, St Andrew Kilwinning, Otaihape and Rangitikei.
Ash Williamson, Ruapehu Masonic District grand master, who attended with his wife Jo, unveiled the nebulisers on behalf of their friend, Laurie Hunt.
A nebuliser converts a solution of a drug into a fine spray which is inhaled. Nebulisers use oxygen, compressed air, or ultrasonic power to break up the liquid drug to deliver the dose and are invaluable on the medical ward.
"We have a high number of respiratory patients," says Cynda Baker, clinical nurse manager. "So they will be utilised, believe me."