The simple but beautiful reason you may hear chimes in Kamloops, Okanagan hospitals | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The simple but beautiful reason you may hear chimes in Kamloops, Okanagan hospitals

Lynn Gerein with the birth chimes at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
November 04, 2016 - 8:00 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - If you heard the soft sound of chimes during your last hospital visit and wondered what they meant, the answer couldn’t be sweeter: The sound means a baby was just born.

Known as the ‘birth chimes’, the gentle melody is broadcast throughout the hospital whenever a new life is brought into the world. Lynn Gerein, health service director, says they’ve been in place at Vernon Jubilee Hospital for about three months, and longer at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. They are also at hospitals in Kelowna, Nelson, Trail and Salmon Arm.

“Everyone gets excited. It’s something happy. It’s an uplifting feeling,” Gerein says. “Especially with some of the complexities and challenges you’re usually going through at the hospital, its a nice break.”

Whenever a baby is born, the mother’s partner is offered the opportunity to push the button and spread the joy throughout the hospital — to doctors and nurses, to those in waiting rooms, those visiting loved ones, those undergoing treatment or recovering from surgery. The only place the chimes cannot be heard is the floor where the operating room is located.

“It’s almost a way to celebrate someone else’s joy who you don’t even know about,” Gerein says.

Birth chimes have been installed in hospitals across Canada, but they have special significance in Vernon. They are a tribute to Dr. Theodore Jordan, who worked at Vernon Jubilee Hospital for roughly 50 years and delivered many babies there during his career. When he passed away, his family wanted to make a donation to the hospital in his memory, and it was through a story they shared that the idea of the chimes was born.

“He lived on an acreage, and when a call came in that one of his patients was going to deliver, they would ring a bell and he would know he needed to come in and make his way to the hospital,” Gerein says.

Along with funds from the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, the family's donation created something that spreads joy and excitement throughout the hospital. 

There’s no predicting when the chimes will go off, and Gerein says it’s a special surprise whenever they do. Especially when they go off twice in a row.

“Then we know it’s twins,” she says.

Even in the most stressful, emotional or challenging moments at the hospital, the chimes bring a reason to smile.

“It’s a reminder, a recognition that despite the times you’re going through, there’s hope,” Gerein says.

— This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 7, 2016, to add a video. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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