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ER gets guru's name

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source: http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/sur...gurus_name.html

ER gets guru's name

By Jeff Nagel - Surrey North Delta Leader - November 15, 2007

Part of the planned Surrey Memorial Hospital ( Surrey, B.C. Canada ) expansion will be named after the founder of the Sikh religion.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji's name will adorn the main entrance of the new emergency centre in recognition of the importance of Surrey's South Asian community and its support of hospital fundraising efforts.

"The guru reminded us all that devotion of thought and excellence of conduct is our first duty," said Premier Gordon Campbell, who announced the name of the future ER entrance Thursday.

"By naming the entrance of this Surrey Memorial Hospital centre after Guru Nanak Dev Ji, we are saying this is a place for everyone."

The premier called it an important way to recognize South Asian contributions to society "in a way that's positive and constructive and so people can see that the contributions they've made are important to everyone in the community."

It's unusual for a public facility to be named after a religious leader, although numerous church-sponsored hospitals and care homes in Canada bear the names of Catholic saints.

And two other hospitals serving large Sikh populations – in Edmonton and Brampton, Ontario – have recently named new wings after Guru Nanak.

Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation officials proposed the name, which was approved by the Fraser Health Authority and the provincial government.

Neither Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts nor foundation president Jane Adams expect any opposition.

"We don't anticipate a backlash," Adams said. "Unquestionably, because the guru is so universally revered and he was and continues to be an individual that's had such a positive impact, it really wasn't a point of debate."

She said Sikh patients will be reassured as they enter the ER and look up at the guru's name.

The decision is expected to further fan donations from the South Asian community.

Adams estimated more than 40 per cent of donations to the foundation come from South Asians.

Rather than choose an individual living donor or a corporate backer, Adams said the choice of the guru is one much of the community can collectively celebrate.

"I cannot express the pride I feel," said Red 93.1 FM radio station founder Kulwinder Sanghera, who committed the station to raise $2 million for the campaign. (An all-day radio fundraiser takes place Nov. 23).

The hospital foundation is two-thirds of the way to its $15-million target, money that will help outfit the new ER with equipment beyond the basics provided in the government's $88-million budget.

Construction is slated to begin next year.

The new emergency centre, which will include a mental health and addictions unit and a separate children's ER, will be triple the size of the existing one, which sees 70,000 patients per year – way over its capacity.

NDP MLA Jagrup Brar backed the Guru Nanak naming.

But he accused the province of repeatedly promising improvements at Surrey Memorial while delaying the required work.

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