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CT Scanner at GBGH on Life support!

CT Scanner at GBGH on Life support!

CT Scanner













by Dick Wesselo

Those who live and work in North Simcoe, both year round and seasonally, have come to rely on the Georgian Bay General Hospital to provide the best medical care possible if and when it is needed.  Those of us who have had to go to the Hospital can attest to the fact that the Hospital and its Staff have done an outstanding job over the years under sometimes trying circumstances. The Federal and Provincial Healthcare Budgets continue to be under tremendous pressure as the costs of providing health care services outpaces the cost of inflation. Governments over the years have occasionally shown bursts of generosity towards the purchase of much needed equipment.  However, the reality is that the vast majority of the equipment being utilized in the GBGH and other hospitals today is there as a result of the yeoman efforts made by many volunteers and donors from within the communities they serve. North Simcoe Residents have responded to these volunteer efforts by generously opening their wallets.  Local elected Municipal Councils have responded as well. Communities have always been expected to support their local Hospital with donations for hospital equipment.

This year, Tiny, Tay and Midland have substantial amounts directed to the Hospital within their annual budgets.  In addition, Tiny's Council has shown remarkable leadership on the health care front and Tiny's Mayor George Cornell was quoted in the Hospital Foundation's 2015 Annual Report as follows: “The Township of Tiny Council recognizes that high quality health care is fundamental to the overall wellbeing of our community. As such we are pleased to support our local hospital and ER department by contributing to the purchase of much needed equipment such as the current campaign for a CT Scanner”. In addition, during its May 25, 2015 meeting, Tiny Council approved that 50% of the proceeds of this year's Mayor's Charity Golf Tournament and Dinner in Tiny be directed to the Hospital. The other 50% will be going to the Rosewood Shelter to support their efforts to prevent male violence against women. 


At a cost of approximately of 1.5 million, why a new CT scanner?

The current unit is about 10 years old and past its life expectancy. The unit is breaking down more often. Critically needed parts are progressively more difficult to procure. This increasingly forces the use of used and refurbished parts and the finding and testing of parts adds to the time the unit is not available. These older units also emit more radiation, are slower at processing the images and are limited in their analytical abilities. Today's units use less radiation, are much more precise and can be adjusted to not be bothered by titanium hips in a person. Today's scanner completes its diagnostic cycle twice as fast and does a much better job at recognizing blood flow to a patient's organs.  This ability is critical when dealing with internal injury, stroke or cardiac patients.

Today's Hospital depends on the diagnostics provided by a CT scanner. In the words of Dr. Vikram Ralhan, one of the Vikemergency physicians at the hospital and at the end of a long shift:  "A hospital cannot function without a scanner nowadays. Most physicians will not even work in a hospital unless they actually have a CT scanner. It's become the imaging standard of care in so many different tests".  Dr. Ralhan is clearly passionate about his work. "You cannot function in an emergency department without a CT scanner especially when you don't have a lot of specialist back-up.  We do not have a vascular surgeon here and if we have a patient that may be tearing open their aorta  or having an aortic dissection, using the bedside ultrasound at the emerg is definitely a good start.  A CT scanner is critical in getting that diagnosis and getting that diagnosis as quickly as possible so we can transfer them to a referral centre. If you cannot do it in an expeditious manner the patient will die." He repeats and emphasizes:  "The patient will absolutely die."

A referral however does not happen just because a physician thinks it is a good idea.  Dr. Ralhan continues: "For instance, if it is suspected that the patient may require the services of a neuro surgeon, it is highly unlikely that a neuro surgeon, being as busy as they are, is going to accept a patient based on clinical observations only. They are going to want an image and it is going to be that much harder to get the patient to the City in a reasonable amount of time to be able to ensure that the patient has as good of an outcome as possible."

Dr. Ralhan explains that the effects on the body of newer blood thinners, common drugs among an elderly population, cannot be reversed. They have to work themselves out of the patient's system. Another reason why it is critical that both suspected and obvious internal injuries are diagnosed accurately and expeditiously. 

A CT scanner is clearly the diagnostic tool of choice at the GBGH. The unit is well utilized. During 2014 over 7300 procedures were completed, over 20 per day! 3143 patients were scanned as a result of a visit to the Emergency Department, out-patient use totaled 3244 occurrences and the balance was made up by in-Hospital patients.  When comparing these numbers against the local population, they become scary; better than 1 out of 8 people required the imaging abilities of the CT scanner!

The need for the unit's replacement is more than obvious. An efficiently functioning unit allows a physician to make a much more accurate assessment. Those results speed up treatments and referrals if necessary.  It all supports the patient's outcome.

Consider supporting or attending a function that is supporting the Hospital. It may save your life!

Sponsorships and dinner tickets are still available for the Township Tiny Mayor’s Charity Golf Tournament and Dinner through the Township Office 705 526-4204, and please ask for Laura Russell.



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