by Barry McDonald
The year was 2005 when the entire community of Wetaskiwin and region rallied behind the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation to raise funds to purchase a CT Scanner. Service clubs, individuals, memorials, businesses, children, schools, clubs, other foundations, Hutterian Brethren, Samson aboriginal community (Peace Hills). Since that time the machine has performed thousands of scans, modernized the manner in which medical care is conducted in the Wetaskiwin region, attracted and retained medical staff and indisputably, has saved many lives. Now 10 years later, the Foundation will, once again be seeking the support of the community to assist with the purchase of a new CT Scanner.
Dr. Kudel, the Wetaskiwin Hospital radiologist for the past 10 years explained the need for the new equipment. “This piece of equipment was bought in 2005 and is 10 years old and that is pretty much the life span of these machines. For example in the past 2-3 tests the machine had to be shut down because of equipment problems.” He further explained that with technology changes and newer, improved models being produced, parts and repairs are becoming increasingly difficult to get for the machine because of its age. “So it’s time for it to be retired.”
The Scanner has seen a lot of use since 2005. As reported by Calvin Trost, CT Supervisor, Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre, approximately 4100 scans were performed in 2014. That is more than twice as many scans that were predicted for the year 2005.
Some historical projected numbers in 2005:
• Approximately 1300 CT Scan exams are exported to other communities each year ($300/scan exported from our community).
• Approximately 700 CT Scan exams will be imported into our community every year. At today’s rates that translates into $300/scan imported into our community.
• The CT Scanner and facility will cost approximately $2,250,000.
• Two new positions will be created to provide support for CT Scanning.
‘CT scanning’ is a term used to describe a radiological test known as Computed Axial Tomography. The scanner itself is a doughnut-shaped machine that is used in combination with a digital computer to take pictures of the insides of your body. It takes the idea of conventional X-ray imaging to a new level by forming full three-dimensional computerized pictures, detailed cross sectional images or “slices” of different organs of the body. A CT Scanner is able to image a combination of soft tissue (e.g. brain, liver, kidneys, lungs), bone, and blood vessels, making it possible to detect diseases or injuries that cannot be exposed with a regular x-ray.”
Dr. Kudel explained the importance of the CT Scanner to the community of Wetaskiwin. Today, doctors use CT scans to diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments, including cancer, osteoporosis and heart and stroke disease. In trauma cases and other emergencies patients can be scanned immediately to scout for major internal injuries and bleeding. The scanner provides physicians with timely diagnosis of patients seeking treatment in this rural community, enables residents, to receive services locally and attracts and retains specialists who are accustomed to having a CT Scan in their practice.
Branin Thompson, Chair of the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation Board described the commitment of the Foundation to the purchase. “We have taken on many projects both large and small over the years and with our 30th anniversary next year we decided to take on a big one.
We are pleased to announce as a Foundation that we have committed to a new CT scanner campaign for the Wetaskiwin Hospital. This campaign will run from April of this year to August of 2016. The new CT scanner will be in place sometime in the late spring to summer of 2016. The campaign is the largest the foundation has ever taken on and will come to a total of $1.2million dollars. We hope to raise this through continued community support with donations as well as attendance at our annual golf tournament and barn dance.
We are just making this campaign public today but we are pleased to announce that we have a good head start on this campaign already totaling $178,590.00 with $8,590 of that already coming in donations from the community. The other $170,000 is from the Foundation as a down payment for the scanner.”
Danny Gavin, a Foundation Board member was present to award a $1000 donation that he, as a Scotiabank employee, was able to designate towards the new scanner.
The new CT Scanner campaign is underway. Your contribution is more than just dropping money in a collection jar it’s about knowing that we can help protect our loved ones, our friends and neighbours because a CT Scanner can be utilized as a first line of diagnosis for disease or injury.