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‘Community effort’ brings CT scanner to hospital

After years of fundraising, planning and renovating, the West Nipissing General Hospital’s CT Scanner is ready.

The hospital got the stamp of approval in October of 2018 and unveiled the room with a ribbon-cutting the first week of March 2020.

Since then, the CT scanner was built, and the room was completely renovated – featuring lead-lined walls, doors, floor, windows, and the like.

It has been a long time coming for both the hospital and the community. WNGH CEO Cynthia Desormiers says she couldn’t be more excited to have the CT Scanner up and running on Monday, Nov. 9

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“It’s going to be great for our patients, our doctors, our community and our staff. It’s wonderful,” she said.

Because of COVID-19, the CT Scanner was a tad later than what the hospital had intended.

“We’re very pleased with the timeline and very fortunate that things came together despite the spin that COVID has put on everybody both professionally and personally,” she said.

The hospital’s new CT scanner, according to Desormiers, is top of the line.

“It’s the latest, the best of the best. It has high-quality images, sharper better images, and low dose radiation. That was a key factor when we looked at this… to not have extra radiation necessary to have a quality of images.”

Desormier credits the community in bringing a CT scanner to West Nipissing.

“It wouldn’t be possible without such a generous community. Last year, the very generous donation from the firemen with the Pink T-shirts, our golf tournaments surpluses. We received $100,000 this year from the (WNGH) foundation, accumulation of some revenues from events, and of course earlier this fall a very generous donation from Caiise Alliance for another $100 000. It’s for the community. Though we benefit internally with staffing, and challenges with patients getting their diagnostics faster, it creates a smoother process for us. But ultimately it’s about the patient. It’s about the community.”

Desormiers says a CT scanner is a standard of care and she believes the community deserves the best.

She adds that this will also keep folks from travelling to neighbouring hospitals to get the scans done. The travel was often done by local paramedics.

“It’s about safety, too. In the winter and spring when the water and roads aren’t great we won’t have to put people at risk. It’s local, it’s close to home. If the patient does need to see a specialist, then they’re going with the image with the details and data that will help the specialist. It also keeps the ambulances local as well. If they’re not on the road transporting people back and forth, they’re in the community. That improves the response time for everybody. I see that as a win-win.”

Desormiers says that behind the scenes, they have been sending staff to North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) to have training, as well as online learning.

“We’ve been working with doctor Jeff Hodge in North Bay. He and his radiology group will be reading our scans for us. To ensure competency and good training for our staff, we will also have a Canon (CT scanner fabricator) specialist on-site for two weeks of training. A NBRHC employee will also be on-site for six weeks to work with our staff. She’s highly competent in CT scanners, and actually a WN resident. It’s a great partnership, and a great compliment for our staff.” she finished.

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