Respiration sensation
Craig Robinson makes way for better breathing

Tracy Kovalench
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jul 03/98) - Craig Robinson is one of the most popular guys at Stanton Regional Hospital. The other is on vacation.

Robinson is part of a two-man department dedicated specifically to better breathing. Located behind the elevators on the second floor, Stanton's three-room respiration department isn't much to look at.

When he's not administering pulmonary function tests (early asthma and breathing problem detection), Robinson can be found in any one of Stanton's other departments.

On call 24 hours a day, he's always on duty.

On the surgical scene, Robinson "intubates" patients meaning he opens up their oxygen paths with a tube.

Robinson is also well-known in the extended care ward, where he visits patients with special respiratory problems on a regular basis.

Present in obstetrics after difficult labors, Robinson analyses the babies' blood to ensure they are breathing properly, minimizing distress. If the newborn is not breathing normally, Robinson connects them to a ventilator, which "breathes for them." Donated by the Yellowknife fire department a year ago, the ventilator has helped Robinson tremendously, who previously administered ventilation manually with a hand pump.

"I like getting up in the morning and going to work," says Robinson, who has been working at the hospital since he graduated from a three-year respiration therapy diploma program in 1996.

Robinson didn't grow up with dreams of becoming a respiratory therapist, but an interest in science and a career test pointed him to in the health care direction. Realizing a growing need for specialists in his field, Robinson's choice was a practical one. Watching a patient walk out of the hospital after a near-death experience is the ultimate satisfaction, says Robinson.

"It's in my nature," says Robinson. "I guess that's why I'm here."

Robinson was also the resident respiratory therapist at Stanton's teddy bear hospital last Sunday. One of his patients was a toy belonging to his six-year-old daughter, Jasmin.

He also has four-year-old son named Keegan. Growing up in Yellowknife himself, Robinson says the city is a good place to raise children. He and his wife Vicki have just moved into a new home and are expecting their third child in December.