Kelowna General Hospital unveiled its latest high-tech diagnostic tool Thursday afternoon—a $1.9 million Flash CT scanner.
The scanner was purchased through the fundraising efforts of the Peachland, Kelowna, Rutland and Winfield hospital auxiliaries.
In 2015, all four auxiliaries joined forces and committed to purchasing the new scanner, raising the money from net proceeds of KGH volunteer-driven business initiatives, catering operations in Peachland and Winfield and the Rutland Thrift Store.
KGH has two other CT diagnostic scanners elsewhere in the hospital, but when the Centennial Tower addition was built, a room was set aside to eventually house a third machine for the emergency department.
“It was an ambitious project to begin with, but to borrow a quote from Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible until it is done,’” said John Cabral, director of health services, critical care/medical at KGH.
“What seemed impossible is now done.”
He credited the volunteer efforts of the auxiliaries, from those working in the area thrift shops to the volunteer-driven services at the hospital such as The Perking Lot coffee shop, for making the hospital a better health care facility.
The new scanner has twice the diagnostic speed of the two existing scanners at KGH, which together now deal with about 110 patients a day between them.
The technician crew is currently training on the new machine, and it is hoped to be fully functioning by July.
Pam Hoeschle, medical diagnostic imaging department manager, said the new CT scanner can do a chest x-ray in two seconds, an entire body x-ray in five seconds.
Hoeschle said speed is critical when dealing with patients admitted in an emergency, as the new scanner is located directly across the hallway from the ER trauma room.
“We had a chance to see how this machine operates at Vancouver General Hospital and we were awestruck by what it can do,” said Hoeschle.
“It is faster than our existing two machines and the image quality is enhanced.”
Nancy Wells, manager of business enterprises for the Kelowna Hospital Foundation who works closely with the auxiliaries, said the unveiling of the new CT scanner was an emotional event for her.
“I remember when the shell was created to house a third scanner and how much it was needed,” recalled Wells. “I just knew that if anyone was going to fill that room, it would be our auxiliaries.”
Bonnie Haines, a volunteer at The Perking Lot, called it satisfying and enjoyable to see the contribution of their volunteers, who work in four-person shift crews covering four shifts a day, seven days a week.
“I have been volunteering here for seven years, and some others have been here 10, 15 years,” Haines said. “It is very gratifying to see our volunteer efforts rewarded this way to benefit the hospital, and the acknowledgement we receive daily from staff at the hospital for the contribution we make.”