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Faces of the QEH – Brendon McKenna

“Patient safety is our biggest mandate”

Accepting the position of Biomedical Engineering Technologist at the QEH in 1998 was not a difficult decision for Brendon McKenna. “The work we do here and the technology we get to work with is amazing,” says Brendon.

The QEH houses over 1,500 devices and the biomedical department needs to understand how each piece works. Brendon and his colleagues are heavily involved in the implementation of new equipment as well as taking good care of the equipment currently in use, the majority of which are made possible thanks to the generosity of donors to the QEH Foundation. “We ensure new equipment is functional and that it is electrically safe and supported. We get the equipment prepped, assembled and programmed, whatever is necessary. If it fails, we have to find out why and know how to fix it.”

No two days are the same and priorities change as various work orders come in. “I jokingly say we’re firefighters. We are constantly putting out fires in the sense that almost every situation is urgent to the patients and staff.  One minute you’re working on the pneumatic tube system that the whole hospital depends on immensely. The next minute you could be working on a defibrillator, a ventilator or an x-ray machine – you name it, we’ve worked on it.”

Without a doubt, patient safety is at the forefront of Brendon’s mind. “Patient safety is our biggest mandate. The patients rely on our work and every device we touch impacts a patient, some of whom are in life-threatening situations. Every day we are working on equipment that is contributing to optimal health care here at the QEH,” explains Brendon.

Brendon says he has more interaction with patients than most people would think. “It’s more than just the equipment; it’s about the end users. We are often trouble shooting equipment while patients are utilizing the device or they’re describing to me what’s not working.” The best moments on the job for Brendon are when a patient recognizes the work that’s been done and expresses their gratitude. “Those kind words mean a lot at the end of the day, it makes it all worth it.”