Recent History – 2001
May 24, 2001, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
A brand new state-of-the art computerized tommography (CT) scanner is on its way to Dawson Creek and District Hospital and should be ready to operate by early July.
The scanner, also called a CAT scan uses a concentrated x-ray to get cross section images of the body ranging from 1.5 to 10 millimetres thick, will replace a used one that has been housed in the hospital for three years.
“When we had this particular machine installed three years ago it was already seven years old, and we made a deal with the government that we would accept this providing we’d get a new CAT scan with up-to-date capabilities in three to five years,” said chief radiologist Dr. LeRoy Erickson Wednesday morning.
“And we’ve gotten to three years and we’re getting a new one.”
Erickson expects that the new machine will allow 15 per cent more patients to be examined; 2,200 were examined via CT scan last year. The scans will take only 17 seconds, so that a study of the chest can be completed in one breath-hold.
Accompanying the machine will be patient archival computer storage (PACS) equipment that will allow physicians to view computerized images, rather than ones that come from film. The effect will be more images.
“Instead of getting perhaps 30, 40 and 50 pictures on a study, we’ll be getting four, five or 600 pictures because we’ll do much finer slices,” Erickson said.
The machine will cost about $1.2 million while PACS will cost an additional $400,000 for $1.6 million in total. The PACS equipment is expected to be installed in late July.
South Peace Health Council chief executive officer Rick Robinson said the Peace River Regional Hospital District will cover 40 per cent of the cost, but the Ministry of Health will fall short of the traditional 60 per cent that the province usually chips in because it’s not funding PACS.
But the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation has come in to fill the gap. A check for $395,000 was presented to the hospital during a ceremony Wednesday morning.
The money comes from a fundraising campaign that ran from 1995 to 1997. Out of that, $100,000 was used to pay for the installation of the current CT scanning unit.
“Thanks to the Foundation and other participants, we’re able to upgrade the technology to the latest level,” Robinson said.
Erickson also had words of praise for the Hospital Foundation: “I think the Hospital Foundation is the real reason we have CAT scan capability here now, and it’s the reason we are able to have state-of-the-art equipment.”
Hospital Foundation director of development Gloria Cleve said that the new scanner is a coup for the community. “It speaks to the community spirit,” she said. “It was alive and well when all of this money was raised.”
An open house is expected to be held in late-September once the scanner is up and running.